The Harzand team have opted to sidestep the St Leger at Doncaster
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Carr 9:26AM 20 JUL 2016
IN the grand scheme of things, the fact a horse you do not own has not been entered in a race that will not be run for two months is hardly a big deal. But Harzand’s absence from the Ladbrokes St Leger field is certainly a shame.
If ever a colt looked tailor-made for the extended mile-and-six-furlong test of the final Classic of the season, it is the dual Derby winner, who knuckled down admirably in the closing stages over a mile and a half at Epsom, and again at the Curragh.
Harzand was well on top at the line each time and it is difficult to imagine there is a three-year-old around who could live with him at Doncaster given an extra quarter-mile.
And Galileo’s six straight sires’ championships show that stamina need not be a drawback for a stallion’s commercial prospects.
Now, neither Dermot Weld nor the Aga Khan needs any advice on how to place their horses. Their records worldwide over the past four decades show they know exactly what they are doing.
They clearly have their minds set on the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, understandably so for a trainer who has yet to lift the prize and an owner who has made a habit of winning it.
Yet are they not missing a trick in at least giving themselves the option of using the Leger as a warm-up, rather than, say, the Prix Niel the next day?
The timing is all but identical, the odds are there would be no more exertion for Harzand than were he to go to France – and what better way for his owner finally to wipe away those bad Shergar memories than by having his successor bolt up 35 years on?