Dermot Weld could aim Harzand at Ladbrokes St Leger

Investec Derby hero Harzand could end up running in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster in the autumn.

Trainer Dermot Weld is considering a tilt at the historic Classic on September 10 after the son of Sea The Stars dazzled at Epsom with a length-and-a-half defeat of US Army Ranger.

Harzand’s next assignment is likely to be at the Curragh for the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby on June 25, but Weld, typically, is already playing the long game.

He said: “Time will reveal all. He’s a lovely colt and he could be an ideal English Leger horse or, indeed, if it was a wet autumn a lovely horse for the Arc.”

The Rosewell House admitted he needed to add a Derby winner to his glittering CV.

Weld has broken down barriers across the world with landmark victories in Australia and America, but he had never won the blue riband event at Epsom.

That all changed on Saturday when Pat Smullen partnered the 13-2 chance to a famous victory, despite the colt suffering an injury scare on the way over.

“Life is an amazing thing,” said the trainer.

“Every day you value it you live but we had a very stressful, very exciting day.

“It all started when he pulled his shoe off at Dublin airport.

“I told Pat (Smullen, jockey) at the start if he wasn’t happy to say so, it didn’t matter to me if it was a maiden or a Derby.

“It was a long old day, with four hours of ice, but with the help of colleagues we saved the day.

“I think I had to put the Derby on my CV.”

Weld was quick to highlight Harzand’s appetite for a battle en route to claiming the richest race ever staged in Britain.

“He’s a lovely, improving colt and I think the quality and courage came out,” said the trainer.

“He’s a very tough horse. When the challenge went down and the die was cast, that (toughness) is what won the day.”

Smullen meanwhile toasted his “greatest day in racing” after adding the world’s premier Classic to his impressive list of achievements that includes the 2000 Guineas on Refuse To Bend in 2003, and his eight Classics in Ireland where he has also been champion jockey eight times.

He enjoyed a picture-perfect ride as he brought the 13/2 chance, trained by his boss Dermot Weld, to victory by a length and a half over US Army Ranger.

“It was my greatest day in racing. When you start out and dream of being a jockey as a child it’s something special,” Smullen said.

“You need everything to go right to win a race like the Epsom Derby.

“We knew we had a very good horse on our hands, but he is a horse that needs ease in the ground. There was sufficient ease in it for us and he’s improving rapidly.”

Smullen was delighted that for once the race went just as he had hoped it would.

“Everything went according to plan in the race which is a rarity,” he said.

“Drawn nine, Idaho and Seamie (Heffernan) were in eight and the horse that made the running (Port Douglas) was in stall 10.

“I thought that horse might make the running and that Seamie wouldn’t be too far away. Idaho is a very good horse. We beat him in the Ballysax and that is a very good race. I was quite happy to follow him all the way through the race. I’d been riding the race 100 times in my mind prior to it. For it to come off exactly as was planned was one of those rare things but it worked out.

“I think the most impressive thing from yesterday was 100 yards from the line when Ryan (Moore on US Army Ranger) was at my girth, my horse found again. He pulled away to be a length and a half in front at the line. It showed he had a turn of foot as well as stamina.

“He’s a good horse and improving. Let’s hope he continues to improve.

“He’s 100 per cent genuine and has a huge heart. Tactically he’s very adaptable. My only worry yesterday was if he had the initial pace to get the position we wanted but he proved me wrong there.

“He jumped into that position really well.

“You can put him anywhere where it suits.

“Hopefully that will stand him well in the future in all these races.”


Lifestyle

Keep chomping on those carrots so your eyes will be in perfect working order for that prolonged annual gaze through the keyhole as Home of the Year returns for a sixth series next week.Home of the Year offers a good excuse for a bit of good-natured interiors voyeurism

They differ from the more prevalent oranges we eat because their flesh, and often the skin, is crimson or deep red in colour.Michelle Darmody: The best time of year to buy blood oranges

The annual Members Exhibition now underway at the Lavit Gallery in Cork features 92 works from 72 artists.The exhibition runs until March 7.Under the hammer: Your guide to upcoming auctions

There’s an oriental theme at the James Adam ‘At Home’ auction in Dublin, says Des O’SullivanAuctions: Sale full of eastern promise

More From The Irish Examiner