One of the big duels of this year’s Cheltenham Festival will come in Friday’s Triumph Hurdle but judged on the way Zanahiyr has been performing this season, it could turn out to be a one-horse race. It’s not often that a high-class hurdler starts off his jumping career at Ballinrobe but that was the case with this gallant chestnut and he has gone from strength to strength ever since.
His 14 lengths demolition job of Saint Sam in the Grade 3 Juvenile Hurdle at Fairyhouse was as visually impressive as you could get and then in a slowly-run race at Leopardstown’s Christmas meeting, he sauntered to victory with Tuesday’s Boodles Juvenile Handicap Hurdle winner Jeff Kidder just one of the horses behind him that day.
The market suggests that Tritonic will be a tough nut to crack but while he ran out an easy winner of the Adonis Hurdle at Kempton last month, his jumping left a lot to be desired that day. And the horse which finished second Casa Loupi, which he also beat on his hurdling debut at Ascot, got turned over at Stratford on Monday.
Like Zanahiyr, Quilixios is also unbeaten over timber but he needs softer ground to be seen at his best and while Haut En Couleurs represents the Mullins-Townend ship, he faces an extremely tough task having just one hurdle outing in France to date. What Zanahiyr has done so far has been second to none on the juvenile scene and there’s every reason to suggest that he’ll be even better in Friday’s Triumph Hurdle.
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On the head-to-head records, Fulham have every chance of beating Leeds United this Friday night. And the bookies tend to agree as well. You have to go back six years, almost to the day, when Leeds last won at Craven Cottage and in the four subsequent games since they haven’t managed to win once.
Despite being written off by most some months ago, Fulham have kept battling away for their survival hopes and recent wins over Everton, Sheff Utd and Liverpool suggests that they won’t lie down easily. Even their recent home defeat to Spurs shows that they’re well capable of mixing it with most teams in the league on their day too.
Friday 8pm: Fulham v Leeds
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They take on a Leeds side who are going through their worst spell of the season so far, with four defeats in their last six matches, and what is even a bigger worry is the fact that they haven’t scored in their last three games either. And they’ve also lost their last three games on the road.
When the sides met at Elland Road back in September, the home side won a seven goals thriller but they haven’t been in that scoring mood in any of their recent matches. A low scoring affair is expected in London on Friday evening and a Fulham win is also very much on the cards.
These two selections in a double will give you odds of around 5/1 with Paddy Power.
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
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