Zarkandar to have racecourse gallop

Paul Nicholls has said that he will give Zarkandar a racecourse gallop prior to a possible run in the Betfair Hurdle (formerly the totesport Trophy) at Newbury.

Last year’s Triumph Hurdle winner had a breathing operation in the summer but hasn’t been seen on the racetrack this season.

Nicholls wants to take the horse to a course in the near future before he goes for Europe’s richest handicap hurdle.

Writing in his exclusive column at the champion trainer said: “I was obviously very pleased to hear that Zarkandar will be left on a mark of 151 for the Betfair Hurdle at Newbury next month.

“Zarkandar is only workmanlike at home – Brampour used to murder him over 5f last season – so, while he is pleasing me, he is never going to tell you that much from his work. He does it on the track.

“So while it could be argued that he is theoretically well-handicapped with the Triumph Hurdle form working out so well and should take his chance come what may, I have decided to give him a racecourse gallop in the next 10 days to see whether he will be ready in time to do himself justice at Newbury.

“The Champion Hurdle is the only race that matters for him though, he is in good order and touch wood the summer breathing operation seems to have helped. I know this much – he used to make a noise when schooling but he doesn’t any more.”

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