Harzand: likely to contest the Irish Derby at the Curragh on Saturday
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By David Jennings and david milnes8:00AM 20 JUN 2016
HARZAND looks set to bid for a Derby double at the Curragh on Saturday with the course having been hit by rain that should ensure conditions are suitable.
Conditions at the Curragh eased after 14.6mm of rain on Sunday and the going on Monday was described as yielding on the straight course and good to yielding on the round course. The forecast for the next few days remains unsettled.
Harzand was a first Derby winner at Epsom for trainer Dermot Weld and jockey Pat Smullen, and the rider is looking forward to the Classic double bid.
“The decision will ultimately come down to the boss [Weld] and I’ve no doubt he will make the right call, but if the ground is safe I’m sure he will take his chance,” said Smullen.
“If it’s good, or on the easy side of good, it will be ideal. If it was even slower than that we would be delighted.”
Smullen added of the 6-4 favourite: “He has been in good form since Epsom and we are all very happy with him.”
Derby runner-up US Army Ranger was last night a best-priced 7-4 to exact revenge on Harzand, while his stablemate Idaho, who was third at Epsom, was a general 7-1 chance.
But while the first three from the Derby could turn out again, fourth-placed Wings Of Desire has an alternative target.
Trainer John Gosden said: “Wings Of Desire is fine after Epsom and has been cantering away as normal but he won’t be running at the Curragh. Instead the idea is to take him to the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris next month.
“I feel the track at Saint-Cloud, which is left-handed, will suit him well, and hopefully they will have some nice ground by then.”
Red Verdon was supplemented for the Epsom Derby at a cost of £75,000, and owner Ronnie Arculli could well stump up €100,000 to give the Ed Dunlop-trained colt another chance of winning a Classic, his prospects at Epsom having been hampered by not getting a clear run as he finished strongly for sixth.
Dunlop said: “Red Verdon worked nicely on Friday. The owner is keen to run and we will see what the ground is like.
“We will take a view on Tuesday morning but it’s a possibility he’ll be supplemented.”