The International Hurdle Live Streaming Schedule : Follow the action at Cheltenham as Zarkandar Rock On Ruby & Grandouet feature

Its another cracking day at Prestbury Park Cheltenham with the International Hurdle as Paddy Power release the latest odds on Zarkandar Rock On Ruby & Grandouet plus a live cheltenham stream of the race with their new online TV service.

This week’s extravaganza is the Grade Two International Hurdle at Cheltenham as the top two mile hurdlers lay down their claims for Champion Hurdle success at the Cheltenham Festival in March as the firm announce they are showing all of Saturday’s card, including the International through their live streaming technology.

Once again, following on from the Betfair Chase and the Tingle Creek Chase, according to the markets, the race is being billed as a match-up between the two leading trainers Paul Nicholls and Nicky Henderson.

Nicholls is saddling Zarkandar and Henderson has entered last year’s International Hurdle winner Grandouet.

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Although this time they have a younger rival to contend with as Harry Fry trains Rock On Ruby, who used to be trained by Nicholls but was transferred over to Fry’s yard at the start of the season.

The score reads 1-1 in the past two weeks between the two title rivals after the Nicholls-trained Silviniaco Conti laid down his claims for Cheltenham Gold Cup success by beating Long Run in the Betfair Chase before the brilliant Sprinter Sacre slammed Sanctuaire at Sandown last week.

The markets believe this week’s clash will go the way of Nicholls as they have installed Zarkandar as the 11/8 (Bet365) favourite.

The 2011 Triumph Hurdle winner finished fifth in the Champion Hurdle last season but with an extra year on his back looks an all-together different proposition this season. He looked far more athletic in the paddock on his season reappearance in the Elite Hurdle at Wincanton and those signs were proved right in the race as he showed great strength to beat Prospect Wells off top-weight.

Nicholls has openly admitted Zarkandar looks his number one Champion Hurdle contender and has been popular around the 8/1 mark for outright success.

But before March, plenty of challenges lie ahead with this weekend’s Grade One at Cheltenham well within his grasps. This race looks tailor-made for him with the fact the race should be run at a good gallop and that he is getting 4lbs off his market rivals. That 11/8 could become near even money shot on the day. Get on early if you fancy Zarkandar’s chances.

Grandouet, who, like Zarkandar is a five year old, has not raced since defeating subsequent Champion Hurdle runner-up Overturn in landing this race last season.

He is a proper two mile hurdler in that he possesses plenty of speed but also finds a turn of foot when needed. Barry Geraghty is the perfect pilot for him and he looking forward to renewing their partnership on Saturday after a tear off the track because of an injury.

He might need the run though after 12 months off, especially facing this level of opposition, and although he’s a top-class horse and could win the Champion Hurdle in March, at 9/4 with Bet365 he is just best watched.

Rock On Ruby is the likeliest challenger to Nicholls’ favourite around the 7/4 mark with Bet365.

The seven-year-old and reigning Champion Hurdler boasts a superb record when fresh and has been working very well at home according to his young trainer, who had a huge part to play in the training last season despite him being officially handled by Nicholls.

First time out Rock On Ruby has landed races at Cheltenham’s Open meeting and the Gerry Feilden at Newbury, whilst his win in the Champion Hurdle came after nearly three months off the track over the winter.

This doesn’t look an easy place for him to make his reappearance though, and the fact that he has to give 4lbs to Zarkandar doesn’t bode well for his backers around the 7/4 mark.

Zarkandar could well be the first horse since Rooster Booster ten years ago to win the International and then the Champion Hurdle.

Over 10 years in football analysis and online publishing with articles featured in a number of different publications.

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