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Zarkandar - Cheltenham 18.03.11

Nicholls believes Connetable can emulate Zarkandar in the Triumph

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker  

Nicholls compares Connetable to Zarkandar

PAUL NICHOLLS has compared Saturday's Listed Contenders Hurdle winner Connetable with his 2011 Triumph Hurdle hero Zarkandar, as the former prepares to head straight to next month's renewal of the juvenile feature.

Connetable shot to prominence for the Triumph Hurdle when getting the better of Rayvin Black, with Peace And Co in behind, at Sandown on Saturday and is now as short as 6-1 in places for the race.

Some bookmakers priced up Connetable for a shot at the Champion Hurdle but Nicholls was quick to rule out that option and believes the four-year-old's best days lie over longer trips.

"He is a mirror of Zarkandar in that he is quite laid back and probably will be in staying races next year," said Nicholls.

"He will always be workmanlike as he is not a flashy traveller in his races."

Connetable found the Alan King-trained Gibralfaro too good at Ascot last month but Nicholls revealed he had been confident of an improved showing at Sandown.

He said: "It was tough for a four-year-old against older horses but I knew he would improve from Ascot as he had problems with a splint and needed that run."

French form

Nicholls believes Connetable fits the profile of a Triumph Hurdle winner on breeding and was also bouyed on Saturday by the performance of Footpad, who won the Grade 1 Spring Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown 20 minutes prior to Connetable's run.

The Willie Mullins-trained Footpad finished second in the Prix De Pouilly at Auteuil last May, with Connetable only a length and a half behind in third and Fixe Le Kap three lengths further back in fourth.

"Connetable is not one of these Flat horses," said Nicholls. "He is jumping-bred, as more of the Triumph winners are now and was only a length and a half behind today's Irish Grade 1 juvenile Footpad at Auteuil."

Another Ditcheat Triumph hope?

Nicholls will be hopeful Connetable will not be his sole representative in the Triumph Hurdle, with the champion trainer set to saddle Tommy Silver in Sunday's Scottish Triumph Hurdle Trial at Musselburgh.

Tommy Silver found only the Nicky Henderson-trained Fixe Le Kap too good in the Betfred Mobile Juvenile Hurdle at Newbury last time out and was a general 25-1 chance for the Triumph Hurdle on Sunday morning.

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