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Zaid pours on the class

Zaidpour maintained his unbeaten record over obstacles with a superb performance in the Bar One Racing Royal Bond Novice Hurdle at Fairyhouse.

The French recruit had made an impressive start under the tutelage of Willie Mullins at Punchestown last month, and was strongly backed into 4-7 favouritism to follow up.

Given a confident ride by Paul Townend, he eased into contention before the turn for home and was travelling ominously well once they straightened up. He slightly pitched on landing after jumping the second-last, but soon zipped away from Perfect Smile, easing clear after the last to score by 12 lengths.

Winning owner Rich Ricci said: "That was great and he was very, very impressive. Wow - that was just awesome. Paul said that was easier than when he won his maiden hurdle. That's not taking anything away from the other horses, but Paul said he came on brilliantly and had them all the way.

"We'll see how he comes out of the race. Christmas is close, but we'll see. There is also the Slaney Novice Hurdle at Naas at the start of January."

Paddy Power make Zaidpour 5-1 from 12-1 for the Supreme Novices' Hurdle at Cheltenham in March, while he is 9-2 favourite from 10-1 for the longer Neptune Investment Management Novices' Hurdle. Stan James go 9-2 from 11-1 about his chance in the Supreme.

"He'll be entered in both races and we'll take it from there. It looks like he could run in either race, but he was impressive today over two miles, so I would be tempted to go back over two again," Ricci added.

Mullins added: "I'm delighted with his progress. He was keen early but he jumped well after settling after three hurdles. Paul said he was very happy with him at all stages. I'm not sure about Leopardstown now - we'll have to see how he comes out of this first.

"He is in the Future Champions Novice Hurdle (December 27th) and there is the Deloitte Novice Hurdle for him as well (at Leopardstown in February). He was a real bargain (80,000 euros). We would have probably given two or three times that price for him."

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