sport

Christmas cheer for Zaidpour

Zaidpour outsprinted his rivals to take the woodiesdiy.com Christmas Hurdle at Leopardstown.

Beaten when favourite 12 months ago, the Willie Mullins-trained seven-year-old took full advantage of the absence through injury of Solwhit to claim the third Grade One of his career.

Whatuthink took the four-runner field along until Rule The World jumped into the lead five out. Mala Beach made his bid but he was soon swept aside.

Ruby Walsh bided his time on Zaidpour before unleashing the 5/4 favourite at the business end to gain the upper hand on the run-in and score by four and a quarter lengths.

Mullins said: "He came back in very strong. The cheekpieces worked well at Fairyhouse but I took them off as I thought he might be too free over three miles.

"There's been huge improvement in him. He's better now as seven-year-old and that's very unusual.

"This was his ground and track but he's going to be very hard to place."