France: Zarkandar gives Nicholls big win at Auteuil

Zarkandar - Aintree 04.04.2013

Zarkandar: won for first time since last April at Auteuil

  PICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)  

Report: France, Saturday

Auteuil: Grand Prix d’Automne (Group 1) 3m, 5yo+

ZARKANDAR stormed up the run-in to beat dual Grande Course hero Gemix on his favoured home turf under a canny stalking ride from Vincent Cheminaud, giving Paul Nicholls his biggest win in France to date.

Gemix and the Nick Williams-trained Reve De Sivola ensured a generous pace for most of the race before Lord Prestige made a bold bid for glory four hurdles from home.

David Cottin had Gemix back on the bridle turning in but Cheminaud never gave the odds-on favourite more than a couple of lengths breathing space and Zarkandar surged clear after the last to win by five lengths.

“Two seasons ago he was difficult to beat and last season was a difficult one for him coming up against Annie Power a couple of times,” said Tom Jonason, assistant to Nicholls. “But we came here in the spring a couple of times and he ran very well in June so this seemed like an obvious race to come back for. He had showed form in similar company which suggested he would go close and he does go well fresh.”

With the race run in spring-like conditions the ground had somewhat gone against last years’s winner Reve De Sivola, who faded to seventh when the pace quickened on the home turn.

James Reveley said: “They quickened off that last turn and he just couldn’t quicken up off that ground but, he’s run well.”

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