The burst of pace produced by ZARKANDAR in the Triumph Hurdle was one of the highlights of The Festival and he should be even better suited to this flatter track. Runner-up Unaccompanied could hardly have better advertised the form by landing the Alleged Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday and Paul Nicholls' youngster looks a future star. Grandouet looked to be travelling best of all at Cheltenham and though having no answer when Zarkandar shot past approaching the last he should also be suited by today's track and looks the main threat. Those behind in the big one look to have little chance of reversing the form. Kumbeshwar, second in the Fred Winter two days earlier, carried a big weight and the form looks strong but he had been earlier put in his place by Zarkandar at Kempton and was behind Houblon Des Obeaux and Third Intention at Haydock earlier though the ground was very heavy that day.
Grandouet (FR) 13-2 (11-0) Tracked leaders, headway to challenge 2 out, led narrowly between last 2, ridden and headed approaching last, kept on same pace under pressure flat, 3rd of 23, 5l behind Zarkandar (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar.
Houblon Des Obeaux (FR) 22-1 (11-0) With leaders, led before 2nd, headed before 3 out, soon lost place, weakened from next, 16th of 23, 28l behind Zarkandar (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar.
Kumbeshwar 33-1 (11-7) Took keen hold, led after 1st, ridden and strongly pressed when edged right just before last, headed flat, stayed on under pressure, held towards finish, 2nd of 23, nk behind What A Charm (10-6) at Cheltenham 2m 4yo nov hcp hdl Grd 3 (1) gd in Mar.
Launchpad 4-5fav (11-0) Tracked leader, good jump to press leader from 4 out, led when not fluent next, clear before 2 out, stayed on well, easily, won at Thurles 2m 4yo hdl in Mar beating One For Joules (10-7) by 6l, 5 ran.
Local Hero (GER) 20-1 (11-0) In touch on inside, outpaced after 3 out, ridden next, kept on same pace under pressure approaching last, never reached leaders, 8th of 23, 10l behind Zarkandar (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar.
Maoi Chinn Tire (IRE) 25-1 (11-5) Held up in rear, headway approaching 3 out, soon no impression, 8th of 9, well behind Zarkandar (10-12) at Kempton 2m 4yo hdl Grade 2 (1) gs in Feb.
Oriental Cat 5-1fav (8-13) Switched left soon after start, in rear, ridden and headway 2f out, kept on one pace final furlong, 4th of 16, 4l behind Lost In The Moment (8-13) at Newbury 1m 2f hcp 0-100 (2) gs in Oct (flat).
Palawi (IRE) 1-3fav (11-8) Made all, pushed along before 2 out, soon pressed, kept on well from last, won at Stratford 2m 4yo hdl (3) gd in Mar beating Sidney Melbourne (10-9) by 2 3/4l, 6 ran.
Third Intention (IRE) 11-1 (11-0) Blundered 1st, mid-division on inside, ridden to chase leaders after 2 out, kept on same pace, never on terms, 7th of 23, 10l behind Zarkandar (11-0) at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar.
Zarkandar (IRE) 13-2 (11-0) Mid-division in touch, headway 2 out, led approaching last, ridden and stayed on well flat, won at Cheltenham 2m 1f 4yo hdl Grade 1 (1) gd in Mar beating Unaccompanied (10-7) by 2 1/4l, 23 ran.