Nicky Henderson has opted to run Zaynar in the three-mile World Hurdle instead of the Champion Hurdle.
The Cheltenham betting offers put Zaynar among the favourites for last season’s Champion, but he struggled to go the pace and eventually had to settle for a minor placing.
Things have not gone to plan this season for the former Triumph hurdle winner though. The six-year-old has often raced very lazily in his races and has looked a really tough ride at times and anyone looking to bet on Cheltenham 2011 should bear this in mind.
Henderson is hoping the greater test of stamina and the lesser tempo of the longer distance race will allow Zaynar to travel with greater ease and find a better racing rhythm as a result. The decision to step Zaynar up in trip to three-miles for the first time on a stiff track like Cheltenham is somewhat surprising and seems a little bit of a last ditch effort to revive the fortunes of the talented grey horse. It should though be remembered that he is trained by a master trainer like Nicky Henderson, a man who has rarely made the wrong choices in a training career that has lasted for three decades.
If the step-up in trip can revive the grey and get his enthusiasm back, there is little doubt that he has the ability to get in the mix. However if he can mix it with the brilliant Big Buck’s is another story.