Pat Smullen celebrates winning the Derby on Harzand in June
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
HARZAND had already emulated his sire Sea The Stars by winning the Investec Derby and he will do so again by joining him to stand at the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud as a four-year-old after it was revealed that Dermot Weld’s brilliant Derby winner has been retired.
In a statement issued on behalf of the leading owner-breeder, it was confirmed that Harzand, who was well beaten on his final two starts in the Irish Champion Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, will not race on in 2017.
The statement read: “The Aga Khan Studs are delighted to announce that Harzand will be another exciting new addition to the roster of Gilltown Stud for the 2017 breeding season.
“The handsome son of Sea The Stars achieved an exceptional feat when winning both the Epsom and Irish Derbys, making him the leading colt of his generation in Europe over the classic distance of a mile-and-a-half.”
Having suffered a foot injury when pulling a shoe at Dublin airport ahead of his flight to England on the morning of the Derby, Harzand might not have got the chance to fulfil his destiny.
However, Weld has frequently emphasised how tough an individual his stable star is, and he was eventually given the all clear just hours before the race.
In the event, Harzand secured a first success in the premier Classic for both Weld and his rider Pat Smullen. He stamped his authority all over the race to defy US Army Ranger and Idaho, before consigning Idaho to the runner-up berth in the Irish edition three weeks later.
Speaking yesterday, Weld, who has described Harzand as the best Classic distance colt that he has trained, said: “He was a very genuine tough colt. To win the Derby is the ultimate test of a three-year-old, and you must have speed as well as stamina, and that’s what he had.
“He raced throughout the year from March until October. When he won his 10-furlong Group 3 – the Ballysax at Leopardstown – he put up an excellent performance to beat a high-class field; that was the day that showed us that we had a Derby contender.
“He was a very genuine, tough, sound – very sound – colt; he overcame the scare before the Derby when he pulled a shoe off – he was just as tough as teak, it’s as simple as that. He will be a fine addition to the Gilltown roster and I look forward to breeding from him.”
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