Friday 9 March 2012
Already winners of three championship contests at the Cheltenham Festival as breeders, the Aga Khan Studs will be represented by a strong delegation for the forthcoming meeting.
ZARKANDAR is no stranger to Cheltenham Festival glory as this half-brother to Zarkava lifted the Gr 1 Triumph Hurdle last March before picking up a further Gr 1 at Aintree in April. Still unbeaten over hurdles, the son of Azamour is among the favourites for the Gr 1 Champion Hurdle on the opening day. Fellow Aga Khan-breds BRAMPOUR (Daylami) and ZAIDPOUR (Red Ransom) are also likely to line up in the Champion Hurdle, as could Kalann (Barathea). The former, a Listed runner-up on the flat, has already won a Group 3 contest at Cheltenham, while the latter is a Group 1 winner over hurdles who is unbeaten this season including a hat-trick of Group 2 successes.
The versatile ZAIDPOUR also holds an entry in the Gr 1 World Hurdle and his victories have come over distances ranging from two to three miles. If the son of Prix de Diane heroine Zainta were to take this option, he could well meet Mourad (Sinndar), a four-time Graded scorer and multiple Group 1 placed gelding who is half-brother to Melbourne Cup third Mourilyan. Recent second to ZAIDPOUR in a Group 2 event, Kalann (Barathea) is aimed towards the Gr 3 Vincent O’Brien County Hurdle in which Dirar (King’s Best) and Alarazi (Spectrum) are also entered.
The Aga Khan-breds have won two of the last three editions of the Gr 1 Triumph Hurdle thanks to ZARKANDAR and Zaynar (Daylami) in 2011 and 2009. In the 2012 running of this highly-competitive four-year-old championship hurdle, the breeding operation could be represented by as many as five individuals. Dalakhani gelding Darroun was a stylish winner of his maiden over jumps in January and is expected to run well for trainer Willie Mullins. Other Aga Khan-breds with Triumph Hurdle engagements are Kazlian(Sinndar),winner of two of his three hurdle outings, Gr 2 Prix Greffulhe fourth Dildar (Red Ransom), Group 3 third Zarzal (Dr Fong), Edeymi (Barathea)and Kayalar (Noverre).
Maiden winner Edeymi is likely to opt for the Gr 3 Fred Winter Novices’ Hurdle. Out of Moyglare Stud Stakes victrix Ebadiyla, this gelding comes from the family of Ebaziyan who won the Gr 1 Supreme Novices Hurdle in 2007. The 2012 Supreme Novices’ Hurdle could see the participation of French-trained Divapour (Daylami) who impressed during the winter at Pau with three hurdling victories.
Updated on 09/03/2012.