Weld: Toughness and courage won the day for Harzand


Harzand: could be an “ideal” horse for the St Leger according to Weld

  PICTURE: Getty Images  

 By Lewis Porteous 9:59AM 5 JUN 2016 

DERMOT WELD on Sunday paid tribute to Harzand’s “toughness and courage” as he reflected on how the horse overcame adversity to hand him a first victory in the world’s most prestigious Flat race.

Harzand’s participation in Saturday’s Classic was thrown into doubt when he spread a plate in transit to Epsom but thanks to the painstaking efforts of Weld’s staff and Jim Bolger’s farrier Jim Reilly, the colt was able to take his chance and provide the trainer with an elusive Derby success.

“Life is an amazing thing and every day you value that you live but we had a very stressful and exciting day,” said Weld. “It started at Dublin airport when he pulled a shoe off and continued right through the entire day, right to the start.

“It didn’t matter to me if it was a maiden or the Derby, everything had to be right with the horse. We had a long day with hot fomentation and four hours of ice, and help from colleagues saved the day.”

Form was in the book

Speaking to At The Races, Weld said it was the horse’s defeat of Idaho, who finished third yesterday, in the Ballysax Stakes in April that made him believe he had a genuine Derby contender on his hands.

Weld added: “Idaho is a horse I really rate and in the Ballysax there were five Group winners in that race and it had the form to win the Derby.”

The Irish Derby appears to be the next port of call for Harzand but looking deeper into the future Weld described the Classic winner as an “ideal” type for the St Leger at Doncaster.

The trainer said: “Time will reveal all. He could be an ideal English Leger horse or, indeed, if you got a wet autumn, he’d be a lovely horse for the Arc but that’s all in the future.

“It’s a long way away but I think the quality of coverage came out very strong yesterday and determination from both horse and rider. He’s a very tough horse and when the challenge was down it was toughness and courage that won the day.”

No more hoof issues

Despite Saturday’s hoof issue, Weld does not anticipate the same problem causing any further anxiety in the future.

He said: “I think it’s done and dusted.”

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