Harzand: Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the major autumn aim
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
By Tony O’Hehir and Richard Birch 7:45aM 20 JUL 2016
THE Ladbrokes St Leger was dealt a blow on Tuesday when trainer Dermot Weld revealed that his dual Derby hero Harzand has not been entered for the Doncaster Classic.
The race sponsor was not quoting Harzand for the race but plenty of bookmakers were, with William Hill making him 4-1 favourite and Bet365 5-1 joint-favourite, although connections had not previously indicated one way or the other whether Doncaster might be on their radar.
The Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is the major autumn aim for Harzand, who has won four of his five starts, most notably the Derby at Epsom by a length and a half from US Army Ranger and the Irish Derby at the Curragh by half a length from Idaho – whose position as general favourite for the Leger will now harden.
Weld revealed: “It has been decided not to enter Harzand for the St Leger. He is on a well-deserved midsummer break following his win in the Irish Derby.
“We will choose a prep race for him before aiming him at the Arc. Where that prep race will be hasn’t yet been decided.”
Plans for Red Verdon
Ladbrokes quoted Idaho last night as 7-2 favourite, with Wings Of Desire an 8-1 chance and a trio of horses, Sword Fighter, Muntahaa and Across The Stars, bracketed at 10-1.
Irish Derby fourth Red Verdon, who had previously finished sixth behind Harzand at Epsom, is quoted at 12-1, and trainer Ed Dunlop said yesterday that the progressive colt will be conditioned with Doncaster firmly in mind.
“He’s having a nice, easy fortnight following his second in the Grand Prix de Paris at Saint-Cloud last Thursday,” Dunlop said.
“He’ll be aimed at the Great Voltigeur at York next month, and then the Leger. That’s the plan.”
Red Verdon has made startling progress since landing a Class 3 Chester handicap by a length and a quarter from Soldier In Action in May, his rating having soared from 80 to 114.
Entries for the September 10 Classic will be released on Wednesday.