Hazapour sprang a shock in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown, overcoming Ballydoyle colts Delano Roosevelt and The Pentagon and booking his ticket to the Investec Derby at Epsom
Ridden by Decan McDonogh, the 95-rated Shamardal colt edged past favourite The Pentagon at the furlong-pole and stayed on to beat Delano Roosevelt by three-quarters of a length with the well-backed favourite a neck away third.
Hazapour carries the colours of his breeder, the Aga Khan and trainer Weld, winning the Derrinstown for the ninth time (a haul spanning no less than thirty-eight years), was adamant about plans for the 16/1 shot: “He’s a nephew of (dual Derby-winner) Harzand and the only logical place to go with him is Epsom.”
He explained: “He’s a medium-sized, very well-balanced colt. He won his maiden nicely in Galway last year and developed and progressed well over the winter.
“But it’s only been in the last few weeks that he has really come forward. He worked beautifully the other morning, which prompted me to run in this trial.
“He has very similar characteristics to Harzand – he’s a very tough and, and very adaptable ground-wise. He settles and relaxes and gallops low to the ground. He’s stayer with speed and we’ll see if he can emulate his uncle now. There a whole lot of positives about him going to Epsom.”
Bought recently, following her victory in a Guineas trial over seven furlongs on this track and a first horse to be trained for George Strawbridge by Ger Lyons, Who’s Steph followed-up in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Trial. Colin Keane’s mount, a grey daughter of Zoffany, put the race to bed early in the final furlong to score by a length from Ship Of Dreams with Alghabrah third, with less than three lengths covering the six fillies which chased home the Lyons filly.
“When you do deals with horse, ultimately, you have to deliver, so I’m relieved she’s won so well,” admitted Lyons.
“I’ve spoken to Mr. Strawbridge already and he’s delighted. She’s won a trial on heavy ground and now on good, which is important, because she’ll end up racing in America. We’ll spend today’s prize-money supplementing her for the Guineas.”
Who’s Steph was the second leg of a double for Lyons and Keane, initiated when Bucky Larson pipped Ballydoyle hope Conclusion in the opening maiden.
Also bound for the Curragh in less than two weeks is the Fozzy Stack-trained Zihba, which retained his unbeaten record when beating six older rivals in the Group 3 Amethyst Stakes.
A seventeenth winner of the season for Chris Hayes, the Choisir colt got the better of Pincheck by a length and half to register his third win and his first of turf, having done his previous racing on Dundalk’s polytrack.
“It’s not easy to beat the older horses, even getting the weight, but he did it well,” stated winning trainer Stack. “We thought about running him in the Tetrarch or the Craven, but he wants fast ground, so we had to wait.
“He’s in the Irish Guineas and will line-up there. Whether he’s be good enough, we’ll have to wait and see.”
Having failed to land the Derby Trial, Aidan O’Brien had to settle for just one winner on the card as Southern France, so promising on his debut at Navan, justified 8/15 favouritism in the concluding mile-and-a-half maiden, staying on stoutly up the straight to master stable-companion Cypress Creek by two and a half lengths.
“He’s a grand, staying horse,” said winning rider Donnacha O’Brien. “He came forward from his first run and there’s plenty of improvement in him.
“He could be a horse for the Queen’s Vase (at Royal Ascot).”
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