Dermot Weld insists that star mare Tarnawa will have to deliver a performance from the top drawer if she is to successfully defend her Breeders’ Cup Turf crown at Del Mar on Saturday night.
The brilliant five-year-old found only German raider Torquator Tasso too good in last month’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but conditions are expected to be much quicker at the Californian track as the daughter of Shamardal bids for a famous repeat.
Her wide draw in stall 13 worries the master of Rosewell House, however, and Irish champion jockey Colin Keane will have to be at his best if she is to join the likes of High Chaparral and Conduit as a two-time winner.
“I’m very pleased with her. She travelled well and is training good. I couldn’t be happier with her,” Weld said. “Drawn 13 is very difficult. Of all the tracks in America, it’s very difficult from this draw, but she’s in super order and we’ll take it as it comes.”
The Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Broome and Japan – with Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore in the plate respectively – are among her opposition, but the Ballydoyle maestro also has back-up should either not be 100 per cent on the day with Bolshoi Ballet as first reserve while Mogul is also waiting in the wings as third replacement.
“We have two that got in, but things can change. Bolshoi Ballet is first reserve and we shall keep checking the temperatures of Broome and Japan up to the 8am deadline (for scratches) on Saturday,” O’Brien said.
“We were surprised the Turf was so over-subscribed, but we have horses that could still end up getting in and things can change. Look at Order Of Australia, who was third reserve before he won (last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile) in Keeneland.”
Meanwhile, Irish racing is in mourning after the sad passing of Limerick trainer Andrew McNamara Snr, who was a hugely popular equine figure with 1985 Arkle Chase winner Boreen Prince one of many to excel from his Croom base.
Aintree Grand National third Yer Man and multiple winners Another Row and Rent A Row were other high-profile horses trained by McNamara while his sons Andrew and Robbie were hugely successful jockeys.