Harzand heads field of nine for Derby at the Curragh

Epsom hero Harzand heads a field of nine runners in Saturday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.
Harzand heads field of nine for Derby at the Curragh

Dermot Weld’s three-year-old survived a late scare after spreading a plate to claim Investec Derby glory on the Downs at the start of the month and while the master of Rosewell House has expressed concerns that the Irish equivalent could come a week too soon, he is set to take his chance as things stand.

Weld said: “Every little bit of rain that falls will help, but my worry is really not the ground.

“My biggest worry is he is very tough, but he had a very hard race at Epsom, it left its mark on him and I’d love another week.

“He’s well and at the moment, he’s been declared and we’ll review it from there.

“As we have seen with US Army Ranger, anything can happen.”

Weld has also declared Ebediyin, who finished fifth in the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot last week.

Following the anticipated defection of Epsom runner-up US Army Ranger following an unsatisfactory scope, Aidan O’Brien relies on Epsom third Idaho, Port Douglas, Shogun and Claudio Monteverdi in a bid to win his 12th Irish Derby.

Jim Bolger is double-handed with Epsom disappointment Moonlight Magic joined by Stellar Mass.

The only British-trained contender is Ed Dunlop’s Red Verdon, who was supplemented after finishing sixth at Epsom.

Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Awtaad is set to sidestep an appearance at Glorious Goodwood in favour of a trip to France for a tilt at the Prix Jacques le Marois.

Kevin Prendergast’s star colt beat Newmarket Guineas winner Galileo Gold to claim Classic glory at the Curragh last month, but could only finish third behind the same opponent in a fantastic renewal of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last week.

Prendergast feels the testing conditions were against his charge and has praised the ride given to the winner by Frankie Dettori.

Prendergast said: “He came home from Ascot well and he couldn’t be in better form.

“He ran a good race, but the ground was atrocious on the day.

“He can handle easy to soft ground, but he just couldn’t cope with that at all and the way the race was run and Frankie was just in a different league to the rest of them on the day.”

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