Saturday 24 June 2017

Weld's waiting game with Harzand

Dermot Weld. Photo: Sportsfile
Dermot Weld. Photo: Sportsfile

Marcus Armytage

Dermot Weld is taking a cautious approach to running Epsom Derby hero Harzand in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at The Curragh as he wants to see how the colt is and what the ground is before confirming him at the latest possible stage on Thursday.

Harzand pulled a shoe off on the way to the airport before Epsom and it was touch and go - indeed until Pat Smullen was happy with him at the start - whether he would take his chance in the Derby.

However, having had his foot in a poultice and then a bucket of ice for several hours, he was able to beat US Army Ranger by a length and a half.

"We're satisfied with him," said Weld yesterday. "But he was quite sore on the foot afterwards and we had to treat him with antibiotics to stop it getting infected. We've done very little with him since and we've been trying to keep him fresh.

"We'll make up our minds on Thursday and it depends on the horse himself and the ground. The ground is now good, but drying weather is forecast for the week.

Withdrew

"At the end of last week I withdrew horses at Limerick because it was firm. We'd like some cut in the ground and the plan is to run. The main thing is how the horse is and then we'll look at the ground, but if for any reason I'm not happy with him he won't run."

Aidan O'Brien plans to field four in the race, including his Epsom second and third, US Army Ranger and Idaho, along with Port Douglas and Shogun.

Ed Dunlop will decide today whether to supplement his Derby sixth, Red Verdon.

"We are looking at having three or four runners," O'Brien explained. "US Army Ranger and Idaho are our main two. They seem to be in good form since Epsom, and have come out of their races well.

"We couldn't be happier really. Shogun is in there and Port Douglas as well, but Deauville won't run. He'll go for the Eclipse or something like that.

"We are always very happy with good ground or better, and we take what we get after that. The better the ground, the better it will suit us.

"You need a very good horse to win the Irish Derby, and you need to stay very well. There is nowhere to hide, and it's usually not very tactical. The pace is usually even, and the best horse always wins at the Curragh." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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