Foster expecting Zanahiyr improvement
Denise Foster has backed Zanahiyr to bounce back from his underwhelming showing at the Cheltenham Festival and put in a positive showing in the Grade 1 Ballymore Champion Four-Year-Old Hurdle at Punchestown on Saturday.
Zanahiyr lit up Irish jump racing in the early part of the season with a string of powerful performances, culminating in a superb Grade 2 success at Leopardstown on Boxing Day.
After a short break, he travelled to the Cheltenham Festival for the JCB Triumph Hurdle, a race he was fancied to put in a strong challenge for.
However, the four-year-old finished a disappointing fourth at Prestbury Park, well behind the Henry de Bromhead-trained winner Quilixios.
Zanahiyr and Quilixios will lock horns for the second time in the competitive Grade 1 at Punchestown on Saturday, which also features Haut En Coleurs, who was third in the JCB Triumph Hurdle.
Despite his disappointing performance at the festival, Foster is expecting much more from Zanhiyr this time around.
She said: "He had been having a great season up until Cheltenham when he was beaten fair and square on the day. We'd like to think that he's better than he showed there so hopefully he'll run a big race."
Zanahiyr is available at 9/2 to claim the spoils in Ireland, while Quilixios is priced at 11/8 and Haut En Coleurs is a 15/8 chance to triumph.
Jeff Kidder, who followed up the superb Cheltenham Festival win with a victory at Fairyhouse in early April, is 22/1 to win the Punchestown race.