Harzand: English and Irish Derby winner goes for another Group 1
PICTURE: Getty Images
By Lewis Porteous 3:30PM 27 SEP 2016
DUAL Derby hero Harzand has fully recovered from the injury he sustained in the Irish Champion Stakes on his last start and goes into Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in “tremendous form” according to big-race jockey Pat Smullen.
Harzand, trained by Dermot Weld, has already overcome adversity during a stellar season to date, recovering from a raceday scare to win the Derby at Epsom having spread a plate and bruised his foot on the morning of the race.
He followed up that success in the Irish Derby before his winning run ended when struck into during the Irish Champion Stakes. That setback threatened to derail his Arc bid but, after impressing in a gallop on Tuesday, it’s all systems go for Sunday’s showstopper at Chantilly.
“Harzand is in tremendous form and I’m really happy with him,” said Smullen on Tuesday. “I rode him this morning and he felt well – it’s all systems go. I suppose there is only one negative that the ground looks like being on the quick side but you never know, they might get a drop of rain between now and raceday. All is well with him.”
A general 8-1 chance for the Arc, Harzand is expected to relish the return to a mile and a half on Sunday and Smullen thinks his stern constitution can only be a positive as he bids for a third win at the highest level.
Speaking to At The Races, he added: “He’s a tremendous horse and has some healing power – the way he recovered from Epsom with that bruised foot to bounce back and win the Irish Derby.
“Again he’s recovered from being struck into behind in the Champion Stakes and I think it’s a great sign in the horse that he’s got that healing power and those little things don’t affect him. He’s able to take it like all the good ones do.”