Sunday 23 October 2016

Zawraq shows Classic credentials

Published 12/04/2015 | 20:56

Zawraq surges clear to land the spoils under Pat Smullen
Zawraq surges clear to land the spoils under Pat Smullen

In-form handler Dermot Weld looks to have a colt of immense potential on his hands after the impressive victory of Zawraq in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes.

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Weld sent out four winners at Gowran on Saturday and Zawraq was part of another four-timer for the trainer and his jockey Pat Smullen when he swept three and a half lengths clear with an impressive turn of foot to beat Endless Drama in the Listed mile contest.

Sheikh Hamdan's three-year-old was confirming the good impression he made on his only start as a juvenile, when he beat Aidan O'Brien's well-touted Sir Isaac Newton in a Leopardstown maiden.

Smullen said of the 11-8 favourite: "It was a messy old race but he was very professional, he just switched off and let the race come to him.

"We'll see what the boss says, but I think he needs to go up in trip, my initial thoughts are he might be a better horse going a bit further.

"I think maybe look at going the Derby route for him, but that's a decision for the boss and Sheikh Hamdan."

Weld added: "It was an excellent performance by a horse coming back. My immediate comment would be that I'll discuss things with Sheikh Hamdan as he has a lot of horses in England entered in the Guineas.

"I've always considered him a horse capable of making into a Derby horse and the decision will be whether we go for the English Guineas or wait for the Derrinstown Derby Trial.

"He will stay more than a mile and I actually see him as a Derby horse. You must remember he won the best maiden possibly in Europe last year, when beating a horse I have the highest regard for.

"Better ground will be no problem to him. He's very, very adaptable and has a beautiful temperament. He's a straightforward colt and there are no complications in any way.

"Wherever he goes he's a very, very high-class horse and will always represent us very well. He has a lovely pedigree and is related to Bustino and Height Of Fashion. There is a lot of stamina in his pedigree.

"He was reasonably fit today. If you have a horse that's not fit in heavy ground it will take too much out of them. But he will come on from that. Hopefully he's a stayer with speed and I think he has a lot of ability."

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