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

4/9 Zarkandar
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.

Posted: Friday, 15th February 2013
Author: Chris James

Archive - Previous 5 Horse-racing Articles

Finian's Rainbow Could Provide The Value Bet 2013 Ascot Chase Odds Captain Chris heads betting for competitive renewal
Finian's Rainbow Could Provide The Value Bet
15th Feb
Teaforthree Looking For Good Trial Ahead Of Crack At National Rigadin De Beauchene heads betting for Grand National trial
Teaforthree Looking For Good Trial Ahead Of Crack At National
15th Feb
On His Own And Prince De Beauchene Continue To Head Betting Tidal Bay heads weights for the 2013 Grand National
On His Own And Prince De Beauchene Continue To Head Betting
12th Feb
Sir Des Champs Also Shines On Epic Weekend Of Racing My Tent Or Yours cut to Supreme favourite after Newbury romp
Sir Des Champs Also Shines On Epic Weekend Of Racing
11th Feb
Majala The Value Betting Alternative Fago odds on for Kingmaker Novices Chase at Warwick
Majala The Value Betting Alternative
8th Feb

Headline News

Plymouth V Liverpool Match Betting Preview Liverpool To Take Their Second FA Cup Chance Against Plymouth
Plymouth V Liverpool Match Betting Preview
Team Of The Week Everton Arsenal Chelsea Liverpool and Tottenham All Feature In This Weeks Best 11
Team Of The Week
2017 Women's Australian Open Betting Preview Back Angelique Kerber To Successfully Defend Her Australian Open Title
2017 Women's Australian Open Betting Preview
2017 Men's Australian Open Betting Preview Sir Andy Murray Tipped To Finally Win The Australian Open
2017 Men's Australian Open Betting Preview
Latest Premier League Title Betting Manchester Citys Title Hopes In Tatters Following Everton Loss
Latest Premier League Title Betting

Bookmaker Offers

  • Deposit and place a initial bet of £10
  • Paddy Power will give you £30 in free bets
  • You are also provided with a £10 free casino bet

Open Account - £40 Free Bet

  • Enter the Promo Code G30 as you register
  • Place an initial bet of £10
  • Ladbrokes will provide you with three £10 bets
  • Bet £10 and get £30 in free bets

Open Account - £30 Free Bet

  • Deposit between £10 and £200
  • Bet365 will match this with a signup bonus to the same amount
  • Register at Bet365 for full terms

Open Account - £200 Free Bet

  • Deposit and place a initial bet of £10
  • Coral will provide you with £30 in free bets
  • Visit Coral for full details

Open Account - £30 Free Bet

  • Deposit and place a initial bet of £10
  • BetVictor will provide you with a £30 free sports bet
  • In addition to this BetVictor will also provide you with a £30 casino bonus

Open Account - £60 Free Bet

  • Deposit and place an initial bet of £10
  • Skybet will provide you with a free £15 football bet
  • In addition to this, Skybet will provide you with a £15 free horse racing bet

Open Account - £30 Free Bet

  • Deposit and place a initial bet of £10
  • Betfred will provide you with a £30 free bet that can be used on any sport
  • You also get a £30 free casino bonus

Open Account - £60 Free Bet

Online Casino

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

Sports Calendar - Betting Fixtures