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14 Feb 2011 | 19:15
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Zarkandar 'in a great place'Headlines
Zarkandar parades in front of the media

Paul Nicholls insists it should be of no concern to Zarkandar's supporters that jockey Ruby Walsh has once again chosen to side with Hurricane Fly in the Stan James Champion Hurdle.

Walsh, the stable jockey to both Nicholls and Willie Mullins, rode Zarkandar to win the International at Cheltenham earlier in the season, but deserted him in the last Champion in favour of the defending champion Hurricane Fly.

In the end, he managed to finish third, with Zarkandar fifth, but both Nicholls and Mullins believe their respective charges are different horses this time around. Daryl Jacob is to take over on the former Triumph winner, having helped him through his final trial in the Kingwell Hurdle at Wincanton.

"I don't look at it as Ruby deserting us, he was always going to ride Hurricane Fly. If, God forbid, anything happened to Hurricane Fly then Ruby is the stable jockey and he'd step in on Zarkandar. But they both get on well with the horse, they are both great lads and it won't be an advantage to have either Daryl or Ruby on board."

Nicholls paraded Zarkandar at his stables on Wednesday and is pleased to have enjoyed a clear and unbeaten run with the gelding. He is one of a trio jostling for position as second favourite behind Hurricane Fly.

"He had a tiny fracture in a hind leg last year, we had to rush to get him back for the Betfair Hurdle, which he won, but he was nowhere near himself in the Champion Hurdle last year," Nicholls said.

"He's in a great place now, and I'd like to see the ground on the slow side for him as the Champion Hurdle course is a lot sharper than the other course. He loves Cheltenham and I'd say there's not a lot between Hurricane Fly, my lad, Rock On Ruby and, possibly, Grandouet."

Wonderful Charm heads to Kempton on Saturday for a racecourse gallop ahead of the Coral Cup, but a decision has not been made on the Cheltenham participation of last week's Reynoldstown winner Rocky Creek.

Nicholls said: "If it's testing, Rocky Creek could go for the RSA Chase, but he's a horse I want to look after and I might ask Andy Stewart and David Johnson if I can just mind him."

Unioniste may take his place in the RSA, while Sanctuaire will have another attempt at conquering the apparently unbeatable Sprinter Sacre in the Queen Mother Champion Chase.

14 February 2016

Violet Dancer hands Gary Moore Cheltenham conundrum
Overtown Express steams home for Noel Fehily at Exeter
Victoria Pendleton unhurt following Barbury Castle tumble
Sambremont secures surprise Flyingbolt success for Willie Mullins and Ruby Walsh
Gary Moore keen to answer Ar Mad question at Plumpton
Danny Mullins aiming to be fit for Cheltenham
Nick Williams at a loss to explain lack of outside rides for Lizzie Kelly
No Haydock outing for The Druids Nephew
Dan Skelton keeping faith with Three Musketeers
Nicky Henderson left scratching his head after L'Ami Serge defeat
Take Cover in line for Lingfield return
Catterick forced to inspect
Ed de Giles favours Fred Winter for Akavit
No jumping at Lingfield on Tuesday
Green light for Exeter
Lizzie Kelly has eye for the big time as Agrapart takes Newbury prize
Sempre Medici strikes under Ruby Walsh to take Gowran honours
Dodging Bullets gunned down by Top Gamble at Newbury
L'Ami Serge floored at Warwick by Violet Dancer
Houblon Des Obeaux dominates Denman Chase at Newbury
Smashing effort gives Henry de Bromhead Gowran glory
Open Eagle soars at Warwick for Willie Mullins
Dan Skelton looks to Aintree with Newbury winner Meet The Legend
Jessica Harrington expects Ttebbob to show true colours in Flyingbolt at Navan

13 February 2016

Count Guido Deiro outstays his rivals
Ben Pauling thrilled with Barters Hill as Cheltenham Festival looms large
Black Hercules set to star in Ten Up at Navan
Tuesday's Lingfield card subject to Sunday inspection
Nicky Henderson's Buveur D'Air looks to book Supreme place at Exeter
Jonjo O'Neill has high hopes for Taquin Du Seuil on Warwick return
Josses Hill peaks at Kempton for red-hot Nico de Boinville
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Nicky Henderson joy at 'perfect' My Tent Or Yours Kempton workout
Open Eagle seeking to book Cheltenham ticket at Warwick
Tony Martin and Dedigout target Boyne brace at Navan
Paul Nicholls hoping Dodging Bullets can fire in Newbury return
Rocky Creek aiming to regain winning thread as he tackles Denman date at Newbury
L'Ami Serge aiming to book Arkle ticket in Kingmaker test at Warwick
Connections hoping Blazer is tailor-made for Betfair test

12 February 2016

Kempton scorer Josses Hill back in business for Nicky Henderson
Victoria Pendleton to gain more point-to-point experience
Morning chasing Red Mills glory at Gowran
Willie Mullins seeking more Gowran gains with Sempre Medici
Harry Bentley joins Roger Varian's Newmarket team
Oisin Murphy sidelined by broken collar bone
Martin Lane sidelined following Kempton fall
My Tent Or Yours to have Kingwell prep at Kempton
Top Notch handed Morebattle Kelso aim
Exeter call precautionary check for Sunday card
Market Rally repels British raiders to claim UAE Guineas gold at Meydan
Ma Du Fou strikes Listed gold for Warren Greatrex at Huntingdon
David Pipe mulling Festival hurdles switch with Kings Palace
Winter Escape on Aintree trail following Doncaster victory for Alan King
National aims for Kerry Lee's trio of star staying chasers
Nico de Boinville keen on Altior Cheltenham chance
Willie Mullins considering Punchestown test for Annie Power
Tom George issues ground warning ahead of God's Own Kempton spin
Jonjo O'Neill swerves Newbury with More Of That

11 February 2016

Bangor and Uttoxeter beaten by weather
Mags Mullins sets sights on Cheltenham Festival with Thurles winner Ballychorus
Ma Du Fou cashes in with Banks success at Huntingdon
Tom George earmarks Doncaster prep for Grand National hope Saint Are
Willie Mullins set to chart direct Cheltenham route with Annie Power
Tracey Collins joy at Captain comeback at Dundalk
Blazer features in five-pronged Willie Mullins Newbury raid
Uttoxeter makes early call to abandon Saturday fixture
Ruby Walsh left deflated by Killultagh Vic injury
Bangor Friday card declared a washout
JLT favourite Killultagh Vic ruled out of Cheltenham Festival
Weekend workout planned ahead of Ascot 'option' for Flemenstar
Triumph Hurdle contender Fixe Le Kap heading for Victor Ludorum at Haydock
Kim Bailey has Supreme thoughts for Charbel
North Hill Harvey bids to secure Cheltenham ticket at Huntingdon
Gigginstown happy to play waiting game in Cheltenham Gold Cup
Peace And Co undergoes 'straightforward' respiratory procedure
Victoria Pendleton poised for hunter chase bow at Fakenham
Paul Nicholls flat out to prove Aux Ptits Soins Cheltenham fitness

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