US Army Ranger (left) misses Curragh rematch with Harzand (right)
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony O’Hehir 3:23PM 22 JUN 2016
US ARMY RANGER will miss the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on Saturday after producing an unsatisfactory scope on Wednesday morning.
The Investec Derby runner-up had been promoted to odds-on favourite after doubts surfaced over the participation of his Epsom conqueror Harzand, but the compelling rematch is now definitely off.
Speaking to the Racing Post, trainer Aidan O’Brien said: “US Army Ranger’s scope this morning wasn’t 100 per cent and unfortunately he won’t be running in the Irish Derby. It’s a terrible pity as we were all looking forward to running him.”
O’Brien confirmed jockey Ryan Moore will switch to Idaho, taking over from Seamie Heffernan who rode the colt to finish third at Epsom.
In the updated market, Coral make Harzand and Idaho their 11-8 joint-favourites for the Curragh Classic, with Red Verdon (8-1) and Moonlight Magic (10-1) next in the list.
“US Army Ranger had been well-backed for the Irish Derby in recent days, so the news he will miss the race will come as a blow to punters who had made him the odds-on favourite,” said Coral’s David Stevens.
“Connections still have a leading chance on Saturday in the form of Idaho, who now shares favouritism with the easy to back Harzand, while we await further news on US Army Ranger with interest, as he does hold a Coral-Eclipse entry, and would be a leading contender if lining up at Sandown early next month.”
On Tuesday, trainer Dermot Weld revealed he will wait until the day of the race to decided on Harzand’s participation as the Aga Khan colt recuperates from a course on antibiotics issued to prevent infection.