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ZARIB HOT IN WINTER; CHELTENHAM 2015 4.40 FRED WINTER JUV H'CAP HDLE (G3) (4YO) 2m 110yds PS42,712 (22 run) RUK.

NEWSBOY 1-2-3 1 ZARIB 2 GWENCILY BERBAS 3 HOSTILE FIRE ZARIB, lightly raced and progressive, could prove well treated for his first foray into handicap hurdles.

A fair performer on the Flat when trained in Ireland - he won a Dundalk maiden in the care of Mick Halford - the Aga Khan-bred son of Azamour has already taken high rank as a juvenile hurdler - with the promise of more to come.

Dan Skelton gave Zarib his debut at Newbury eight days before Christmas, and the bay took to his new discipline like a duck to water, scoring by four lengths.

My selection then took on Triumph favourite Peace And Co on Cheltenham's trials card in January, and was anything but discredited by a 12-length third. Skelton then sent Zarib for an easier assignment at Wincanton last month, and, sent off at 1-4, the favourite scarcely gave his supporters a moment's worry as he sauntered home nine lengths to the good of Courtlands Prince.

Skelton insists his man has improved again, and a rating of 133 looks to underestimate Zarib.

Dangers lurk at every corner, with Fairyhouse scorer Hostile Fire, the blinkered-first-time Arabian Revolution, the hat-trickseeking Gwencily Berbas and the streetwise Bouvreuil just four horses capable of having a say in proceedings.

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Mar 11, 2015
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