Despite being entered for both the World Hurdle and the Champion Hurdle in the 2012 Cheltenham Festival, trainer Willie Mullins has yet to decide which is the best option for flyer Zaidpour. Last season was pretty disappointing for connections when Zaidpour encountered three consecutive Grade One defeats but things are looking up and with time on his side he could start to really fulfil his potential.
Fresh off the back of the Grade Two Galmoy Hurdle at Gowran Park, with Ruby Walsh on board, Zaidpour managed to finally get the better of race favourite Voler La Vedettte with Walsh saying “”I’d given her [Voler La Vedette] a lead the last twice and she swept past and I thought she might do the same again but it was clear at the start no one was going to make it, so I sauntered along in front
“We really didn’t go at much pace at all. He just loves soft ground – you couldn’t have it soft enough for him.”
Zaidpour is having a blinder of season and so far has notched up three consecutive wins at Thurles, Navan and Gowran Park so will Mullins opt for the World Hurdle over 3m or the Champion Hurdle over 2m on the opening day of the festival?
Statistically he’s won over both distances but more frequently runs at around the 2 mile mark and competition in both is incredibly fierce so there’s no easy option from that perspective. He’d have to face off against Hurricane Fly in the Champion or Big Bucks in the World Hurdle – neither a very appealing prospect!
I think he’ll end up in the Champion Hurdle for which he’s about 50/1, which is surprising because over the 3 miles in the World Hurdle he’s only 16/1! Only time will tell!