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Friday, 18 January, 2019

'He's been awesome for us' – Nicholls pays tribute to Zarkandar after retirement

Zarkandar (right): winner of 11 races has been retired
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Trainer Paul Nicholls paid tribute to Zarkandar on Saturday after retiring the 11-year-old following his run in the Rendlesham Hurdle at Haydock, in which he came home last of four finishers behind Donna's Diamond.

Zarkandar, who was a formidable opponent for any two-mile hurdler at his peak, won 11 of his 35 races, with the 2011 Triumph Hurdle the first of four top-flight successes.

The trainer said: "Today was going to be his final run – win, lose or draw. He isn't what he used to be, but he's been such an awesome horse for us, winning so many big races over a long period of time. We'll find him a good home, as we always do." 

Zarkandar also won the four-year-old hurdle at the Grand National meeting in 2011, and was successful in another Grade 1 at the same meeting two years later when landing the Aintree Hurdle.

Victory in the Grand Prix d'Automne came the following year, while also on Zarkandar's CV were triumphs in the International Hurdle at Cheltenham, the Adonis at Kempton – on his first run in Britain after moving to Nicholls from Alain de Royer-Dupre's yard - the Kingwell and Elite Hurdles at Wincanton, Betfair Handicap Hurdle at Newbury, and last year's Rendlesham, which was to prove his final success.

His form rather tailed off subsequently and Nicholls, along with owner Chris Giles, had already taken the decision to call time on a career that yielded more than £900,000 in earnings before he lined up at Haydock.

Zarkandar in numbers

11 age
35 runs
11 wins
4 Grade 1 triumphs
£911,734 earnings
165 Highest Racing Post Rating
2 trainers

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He isn't what he used to be, but he's been such an awesome horse for us
E.W. Terms
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