Zarkandar: given surprise Chester Cup entryPICTURE: Julian Herbert/Action Images
Zarkandar entered by Nicholls for Chester Cup
CHAMPION jumps trainer-elect Paul Nicholls could have a rare runner in a big Flat race after entering top hurdler Zarkandar for the Stan James-backed Chester Cup on May 7.
Nicholls has only had six runners on the Flat since taking out a dual licence in 2011 with American Trilogy, who contested the Queen Alexandra Stakes the following year, the most high-profile of those.
Zarkandar, a three-time Grade 1 winner over hurdlers, has endured a fruitless campaign, finishing second in four of his six starts and most recently fourth in the Liverpool Hurdle at Aintree.
Fellow leading jumps trainers Nicky Henderson and Donald McCain have also made entries among the total of 51, with Earth Amber and Royal Irish Hussar representing Henderson and Mawaqeet the sole contender for two-time winner McCain.
Angel Gabrial and Duke Of Clarence are in the reckoning for trainer Richard Fahey and owner Marwan Koukash, who combined to win last year’s race with Address Unknown.
Last year’s Irish Derby hero Trading Leather, trained by Jim Bolger, featured in a 19-strong entry for the Group 2 Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes on May 3, which was also revealed on Wednesday.
Bolger said: “Trading Leather has thrived all winter, he is going very well and showing his usual exuberance on the gallops.
“His first target for the season is the Tattersalls Gold Cup at The Curragh [May 25] but he could run at Newmarket beforehand.
“Later on in the year we are looking at races like the King George again. He has a preference for good ground.”
Fellow Group 1 winners Parish Hall, also trained by Bolger, Joshua Tree and Tac De Boistron were also entered.