Dermot Weld's Irish Derby-winner Grey Swallow is targeting top races over middle-distances this season, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.
Grey Swallow became the latest star of the Classic generation when foiling North Light’s bid for a famous double in the Budweiser Irish Derby at the Curragh yesterday.
North Light, winner of the Vodafone Derby earlier this month, ran on bravely and only gave best in the final 200 yards before finishing runner-up after a thrilling duel.
Grey Swallow, trained by Weld and superbly ridden by Pat Smullen, now has some major targets, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, for which he was cut to 7-1 from 20s by Coral.
Master trainer Weld said: “I’d like to give him a break now. He had a tough spring when it was very wet and I said before Newmarket (where he finished fourth in the 2000 Guineas) that I wasn’t totally happy with the horse.
“He has been on the go for a while and he has earned a rest.
“I would see the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc de Triomphe as his next two races for the year.
“Azamour is a high-class horse and if he runs in the Irish Champion then it will be a good contest which we will look forward to.”
Azamour, the John Oxx-trained winner of the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, is not the only star with the Irish Champion as a target as the race could also be on the agenda of the unbeaten Bago, a winner at Longchamp yesterday.
Grey Swallow, a 10-1 chance for the Curragh Classic, stayed on strongly to give Weld his second winner of the race, eight years on from the shock success of Zagreb.
North Light, the Michael Stoute-trained 8-11 favourite, battled on well but the winner accelerated past him for a half-length triumph on his first run at a mile and a half.
The 150-1 outsider Tycoon put in a late run to snatch third from Rule Of Law, who beat the Epsom third Let The Lion Roar home once again as the Epsom form all but repeated itself.
“I have never lost faith in this horse,” Weld said. “He worked superbly the other day and he is a very brave horse.
“There was a doubt about his stamina but my instincts told me that he would stay.
“This is extra special because he was bred by my mother, who still owns part of him.
“I am usually a pretty conservative person when it comes to training racehorses because they can so easily prove you wrong, but I really believed in this horse. I always felt that the best was yet to come.
“This was a very good Derby. The second horse is an exceptional colt, very progressive, but he just didn’t have the pace.”