Zanahiyr took his unbeaten jumping record to three when landing Grade Two honours in the Knight Frank Juvenile Hurdle at Leopardstown, with trainer Gordon Elliott absent after testing positive for coronavirus.
A maiden winner on the Flat when with Michael Halford, the son of Nathaniel has done little wrong over the smaller obstacles since joining Elliott and boosted his claims for the JCB Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham with an authoritative success.
Carrying a 3lb penalty for a Grade Three victory at Fairyhouse, the 1-2 favourite justified his prohibitive odds in the manner his supporters would have hoped.
Joseph O’Brien’s pair of Druid’s Altar and Busselton made the early running and while the former started to weaken, Busselton made a brave effort to go with Zanahiyr, who had made smooth progress under Jack Kennedy to come into contention and ultimately swept the O’Brien newcomer aside to score by three and three-quarter lengths.
“That was a great performance,” said Kennedy.
“It was a complete opposite sort of race than the last day. We went very steady and he still won, so it just shows that he can do it any way.
“He only did what he had to. Quilixios (unbeaten stablemate) is very good as well, but I think he might edge him.”
Zanahiyr was cut to 100-30 favourite from 4-1 for the Triumph by Betfair.
The victory completed a quick double for Elliott and Kennedy after Wide Receiver’s win in the preceding race.
Elliott revealed he was self isolating after testing positive for Covid-19.
In a statement read out by Brian Gleeson on RTE Racing, Elliott said: “As part of the recommended return from travel Day 5 test, I have tested positive for the coronavirus. It’s come as a big surprise as I’ve been asymptomatic, and I will now continue to self-isolate for a further 10 days.
“Since the test result has come back, we have had all the staff here at Cullentra tested, and thankfully all tests have come back negative.”