Past Winners » Zabana


Zabana’s unseat at the start in the JLT Chase at Cheltenham, when we had him on side, was obviously frustrating (for us and for connections), but I still think that he is potentially top class.

Andy Lynch’s horse was a high-class hurdler, he finished second in the Coral Cup off a mark of 144, beaten just a neck by Aux Ptits Soins.  Then he came to Punchestown and he ran another massive race to finish third behind Jezki and Hurricane Fly in the World Series Hurdle.

He was beaten just 10 lengths by Jezki that day, and he could have been even closer if they had been confident that he would stay.  He was ridden defensively, but he stayed on well all the way to the line.  That all augurs well for today, his first attempt at three miles over fences.

He was seriously impressive in winning his beginners’ chase at Leopardstown over Christmas, a beginners’ chase that Djakadam and Hidden Cyclone and Lord Windermere have won in the past.  You have to forgive him his next run, in the Flogas Chase back at Leopardstown, but you easily can, he just didn’t seem happy on the heavy ground, he didn’t seem confident jumping out of that ground, he slowed into just about every obstacle.

This is obviously a good race, it is a Grade 1 contest, but you can pick holes in a lot of Zabana’s main rivals.  Outlander may be at his best on soft ground, and he has had a hard race at Fairyhouse since he fell at Chetlenham.  Southfield Royale jumps to his left, which is not going to be ideal today, Rule The World obviously had a very hard race at Aintree and, although I am a Noble Endeavor fan, I just think that Zabana has more class than him, and it looks like Davy Russell has chosen to ride Zabana in front of him.

I like Ballychorus, but she has completed now just once in her last four races, and that is not ideal.

Zabana has 10lb to find with the top-rated horses on official ratings, but he is rated 10lb higher over hurdles than he is over fences, and he has the potential to be even better over fences than over hurdles.  I think that he should be closer to favourite than he is.

ZABANA WON (ADV 5/1, SP 7/2)