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Weld targets double delight with his Derby hero Harzand

By Nick Robson

Published 06/06/2016

What a feeling: Pat Smullen celebrates Epsom Derby success on Harzand
What a feeling: Pat Smullen celebrates Epsom Derby success on Harzand

For a man who had achieved almost everything in the game, Dermot Weld had one notable omission - an Investec Derby.

With that in mind, there were few people who begrudged him the success of Harzand, with the popular Pat Smullen overjoyed at finally triumphing for his boss.

Harzand was not even a certain runner until the rain started to fall earlier in the week, yet there was an even later scare.

On his way over to England he pulled off a shoe and Weld's veterinary team had to work overtime to get him to post.

No matter, the money came pouring in for him and he was sent off at 13-2. It was to prove a wise investment as Harzand brilliantly held off the favourite US Army Ranger by a length and a half. Idaho was third and favourite Wings Of Desire - Frankie Dettori aboard - fourth.

Weld said: "It's very special to win this race. I've possibly never had a horse good enough to do it.

"I would say that the Irish Derby is strongly on the agenda and that is most likely to be his next race."

A clash between Harzand and US Army Ranger at the Curragh in the Irish Derby on June 25 could, intriguingly, now be on the cards.

Roger Varian's Postponed had earlier oozed star quality in the Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup.

Winner of the King George at Ascot for Luca Cumani last season, he was moved to Varian and has continued on an upward curve.

Having his first outing since a similarly easy victory in Dubai, the result was never in doubt - with Breeders' Cup winner Found trailing in his wake.

"Postponed is a remarkably versatile horse - he handles different grounds, different pace and different tracks," said Varian.

"He's a very balanced horse and he's the ultimate athlete.

"The timing always felt right to come here and then go straight to the King George."

Caspian Prince won the Investec Dash for a second time but this year trained by Dean Ivory rather than Tony Carroll.

Mick Channon, meanwhile, enjoyed one of the best days of his career, with three big-race victories in three countries.

Epsom Icon appropriately landed the Princess Elizabeth Stakes at Epsom, while stablemate Divine claimed the Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh. Czabo pocketed a Listed race in France for the former England striker.

Czabo may head to Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes while Divine could have a crack at the Wokingham.

British raiders had a bit of a nightmare in yesterday's French Derby at Chantilly.

Dettori-ridden Foundation finished last, while the supplemented Imperial Aviator was only one place better off in the 16-runner Group One, won by Almanzor.

Robin Of Navan (Harry Dunlop), Ventura Storm (Richard Hannon) and the Aidan O'Brien-trained duo of Bravery and Black Sea were also a long way off.

Belfast Telegraph

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