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Racing: Zaidpour races into World Hurdle picture

Zaidpour had to dig deep to claim the Hatton's Grace Hurdle at Fairyhouse yesterday.

Ridden by Ruby Walsh, the gelding showed a great attitude in going past fellow joint-favourite Voler La Vedette going to the last, after the mare had moved smoothly to the lead two out, where long-time leader So Young made a mistake.

The Willie Mullins-trained Zaidpour mastered Voler La Vedette, who lost second on the run to the line as Monksland finished well.

Now a clash with Big Buck's looks in the offing for Zaidpour at Cheltenham in March. Mullins said: "I think he's improved so we'll go along those lines [Ladbrokes World Hurdle]. I doubt he'll take on Hurricane Fly next but he will be entered in all those races.

"He has enough speed for two miles, but he has plenty of stamina, too." The trainer added: "It was a fantastic result and he's stronger this year. He's good enough to run in a Champion Hurdle but the obvious thing would be to go over a longer trip.

"It depends on what runners we have but I'd imagine he will go further – over two and a half or three miles. Himself and Thousand Stars fall into the same bracket.

"I have to give a lot of credit to the girl who rides him out all the time. She does a lot of slow work on him and keeps him right as he had shoulder trouble when we got him."

Odds layers Stan James have cut Zaidpour to 20-1 from 50-1 for the World Hurdle. Spokesman Joseph Burke said: "Zaidpour won his second Grade 1 in good style and has been cut for a host of Cheltenham objectives.

"He is 20-1 [from 50-1] for the World Hurdle and 33-1 [from 50-1] for the Champion Hurdle and it would appear that the former is the more likely objective for him this season."

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