Fred Winter next for Zarib

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Connections feel Zarib would be better suited to the Old Course at Cheltenham after an encouraging run at the venue on Saturday.

The four-year-old finished a creditable third in the Triumph Hurdle Trial at the weekend, which was run on the New Course at Prestbury Park.

He was far from disgraced, with Peace And Co landing the spoils, and now looks set to return to the Gloucestershire course in March for The Festival.

The son of Azamour made a successful start to his jumping career at Newbury back in December last year and was then let loose in better company in just his second appearance over jumps.

And trainer Dan Skelton admitted he always felt that the trip may have been too much for his young charge.

“My thoughts going into the race were that he might just get outstayed over two miles and one (furlong) on the New Course, and that’s probably how it worked out,” he said.

The Fred Winter Juvenile Novices’ Handicap Hurdle appears the likely next outing for Zarib and a switch of course at the Festival might be just the ticket.

“If he gets a realistic mark, the obvious race to aim for would be the Fred Winter, which is run on the Old Course and I think that would have a bearing on things,” he said.

“If he doesn’t get a mark that would get him into the Fred Winter, we’d have to have a rethink.”

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