Monday 21 March 2011
The Aga Khan-bred ZARKANDAR ran out an impressive winner of the Gr 1 Triumph Hurdle on the final day of the Cheltenham Festival to be crowned Britain and Ireland’s top juvenile hurdler. The son of Gilltown sire Azamour offered a third success in this championship event to the Aga Khan Studs, breeders of Zaynar (Daylami), winner in 2009 and Shawiya (Lashkari) who scored in 1993.
ZARKANDAR belied his inexperience on this occasion; only his second outing over hurdles in England after a debut win in the Gr 2 Adonis Juvenile Hurdle at Kempton in January. Fluent throughout the two mile contest, his flat class made the difference in the final stages as the partner of Daryl Jacob accelerated away from the field to score by two and a quarter lengths in a quick time of 3’54’’.
The blue-blooded half-brother to the unbeaten ZARKAVA (Zamindar) had won one race on the flat and been placed twice last summer for Alain de Royer Dupré before being sold privately to join Paul Nicholls in England. The four-year-old is likely to be aimed at the Gr 1 Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival of 2012.
ZARKANDAR and ZARKAVA have a two-year-old Dalakhani half-brother currently in training with Alain de Royer Dupré, while their dam Zarkasha gave birth to a filly foal by fellow Gilltown resident Sea The Stars on 9th March.
Also hailing from the Aga Khan Studs, MOURAD produced an excellent performance to take third place in the Gr 1 World Hurdle on Thursday’s Festival card. The son of Sinndar had picked up two Gr 2 prizes during the winter and he came home less than five lengths from winner Big Buck’s who was recording an historic third success in the three-mile event. MOURAD could now head for the Irish equivalent of this stayers’ championship at Punchestown, with Auteuil also an option in May and June.
Updated on 21/03/2011.