Trainer Paul Nicholls has rejected claims that Zarkandar won’t challenge for this year’s World Hurdle.
The eight-year-old has been classed as an outsider for the event which will take place at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
Champion trainer Nicholls also has Saphir Du Rheu in his stable and bookies believe he could win the World Hurdle in the future.
Saphir Du Rheu fell twice in three attempts over fences this season but he did return to action last weekend with a win at Cheltenham in the Cleeve Hurdle.
Nicholls believes Saphir Du Rheu can go all the way but he has put his Grade 1 expectations on hold for now.
However, he does believe Zarkandar can deliver the goods during this year’s race. He was beaten by rival Reve De Sivola in the Long Walk Hurdle last time out but he still has faith the bay gelding can come good at this year’s festival.
“Long term I still see Saphir Du Rheu as a top-class chaser who could well be heading for the Cheltenham Gold Cup in March next year,” he told his website.
“First though comes the World Hurdle in which we also run Zarkandar, who is arguably our number one contender as he is more streetwise and has much more experience.
“But Saphir Du Rheu has a decent chance, too. There is plenty of improvement to come as I was a little worried that he might be a bit short of fitness going to Cheltenham after a stop start campaign.
“The race will have brought him on and we know now that he stays the trip well.”