In the second result from day one of the Grand National meeting, Zarkandar just about did enough to scoop the Matalan Anniversary 4-Y-O Juvenile Hurdle at Aintree.
The Triumph Hurdle winner was sent off the 4-6 favourite to maintain his unbeaten record over timber, but Ruby Walsh was one of the first of the major players to get busy.
John Quinn’s Palawi set a strong gallop in front and was just coming to the end of his tether when he came down two-out, bringing down Nicky Henderson’s
Grandouet who was still travelling well at the time.
That left Zarkandar in front of Kumbeshwar, who put up a stern fight but went down by a
length and a quarter as the winner became the third horse after Detroit City and Katchit to do the Cheltenham-Aintree double.
Winning part-owner Chris Giles said: “He was a bit lazy, but we got there. The race was set up to stop him getting his usual run, so he had to work hard.
“He just needed a bit of help, but he stayed on well.”