Zarkandar odds on to win Kingwell Hurdle and enhance Cheltenham Festival prospects
Paul Nicholls will be hoping Zarkandar can lay down a strong marker for next month's Champion Hurdle when he takes on five others in the Grade Two Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton on Saturday. The 6-year-old is set to make his final appearance before heading to Cheltenham Festival and he is firm favourite for this weekend's two mile contest.
Zarkandar, the 2011 Triumph Hurdle winner, has won six of seven starts over hurdles during his impressive career and he is looking to make it three wins from three outings this season. The Azamar gelding won over Saturday's course and distance in the Elite Hurdle in November before defeating Grandouet on heavy ground in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham last time.
Grandouet doesn't take his chance in Saturday's race and that has left Zarkandar as the outright 4/9 favourite with Bet365, while he is currently a top price 6/1 second-favourite for next month's Champion Hurdle, where he looks more than capable of improving on last year's fast-finishing fifth. Zarkandar is joined by stablemate Celestial Halo on Saturday and he makes his much-anticipated seasonal debut. The 9-year-old hasn't been seen since finishing ninth of 10 in last season's Champion Hurdle but he has finished runner-up in the last two renewals of the Kingwell and can be backed at 8/1 this weekend.
The biggest threat to Zarkandar could come from the stables of Alan King, who has won two of the past three renewals of this Grade Two. King is dual-handed and the progressive Raya Star looks to be his first string after producing some fine efforts so far. The 7-year-old has impressed over hurdles in the past, winning the Ladbroke and Scottish Champion Hurdle, and he has progressed in exciting fashion this term. He was second to Oscar Whisky before producing a career best effort to finish runner-up to Darlan in the Christmas Hurdle at Kempton, with B365 pricing him 4/1 for Saturday.
Balder Success (25/1) joins Raya Star from the stables of King and he will hope to improve on a couple of disappointing efforts in his last two. The 5-year-old is a fine hurdler and he prefers these smaller field events but he could only finish third to Zarkandar over this course and distance in November, while he has failed to build on victory in a minor event at Haydock.
Meanwhile, Khyber Kim (14/1) makes his first appearance since re-joining Nicky Henderson and his first appearance since April 2011. The 11-year-old was a classy performer in his day, winning the 2010 Aintree Hurdle and finishing runner-up in the Champion Hurdle during the same year, and it will be interesting to see how he copes on his return from such a long lay-off.
Finally, Monte Cavallo (50/1) completes the field for Rebecca Curtis after some decent efforts in lesser company, although this looks a big ask and it is Zarkandar who is fancied to enhance his credentials for next month's Cheltenham Festival.
Kingwell Hurdle Odds
4/1 Raya Star
8/1 Celestial Halo
14/1 Khyber Kim
25/1 Balder Success
50/1 Monte Cavallo
Odds supplied by Bet365.com, with best odds guaranteed on all UK and Irish horse racing.
Archive - Previous 5 Horse-racing Articles
2013 Ascot Chase Odds Captain Chris heads betting for competitive renewal
Finian's Rainbow Could Provide The Value Bet
Rigadin De Beauchene heads betting for Grand National trial
Teaforthree Looking For Good Trial Ahead Of Crack At National
Tidal Bay heads weights for the 2013 Grand National
On His Own And Prince De Beauchene Continue To Head Betting
My Tent Or Yours cut to Supreme favourite after Newbury romp
Sir Des Champs Also Shines On Epic Weekend Of Racing
Fago odds on for Kingmaker Novices Chase at Warwick
Majala The Value Betting Alternative
Open a Paddy Power account by using any link on this site, have a bet of £10 and they will give you a £30 free bet.
Open Account - £30 Free Bet
Open an new betting account with the bookmaker Ladbrokes and you can claim a £50 free bet.
Open Account - £50 Free Bet
Claim a sign up bonus offer of £200 with bet365.
- bet365 match your first deposit with a 100% bonus
- Deposit anywhere between £10 and £200 to claim this massive offer
Open Account - £200 Sign Up Offer
Open an account with Coral and get £30 in free bets:
- Click on a link to Coral
- Open a new betting account
- Have your first bet of £10
- Coral will credit your account with £30 in free bets
Open Account - £30 Free Bet
Open an account with online bookmaker BetVictor and get £25 in free bets. BetVictor will match your first bet with a free bet to the same value, up to a maximum of £25.
Open Account - £25 in Free Bets
Get up to £40 in free bets with Sky Bet:
- Sign up to Sky Bet and have a £10 bet.
- Skybet will then reward you with four £10 free bet tokens
Open Account - Free £40 Bet
Betway are offering a free £30 bet on their online betting service
- Open account and place an initial bet of £10 or more
- Boylesports will match your first with a free bet of up to £30
Open Account - £30 Free Bet - Betway
Online Casino Blackjack and Roulette Games
Those looking for some online casino entertainment ought to check out all the latest UK Casino Sign Up offers from the top operators including 32Red and many of the sports betting casinos.
There is excellent information, should you be interested in playing online blackjack, roulette, the best progressives or slots - Online Casino Betting with the best introductory offers