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Zawraq shows Classic credentials

In-form handler Dermot Weld looks to have a colt of immense potential on his hands after the impressive victory of Zawraq in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial Stakes.

Weld sent out four winners at Gowran on Saturday and Zawraq was part of another four-timer for the trainer and his jockey Pat Smullen when he swept three and a half lengths clear with an impressive turn of foot to beat Endless Drama in the Listed mile contest.

Sheikh Hamdan's three-year-old was confirming the good impression he made on his only start as a juvenile, when he beat Aidan O'Brien's well-touted Sir Isaac Newton in a Leopardstown maiden.

Smullen said of the 11-8 favourite: "It was a messy old race but he was very professional, he just switched off and let the race come to him.

"We'll see what the boss says, but I think he needs to go up in trip, my initial thoughts are he might be a better horse going a bit further.

"I think maybe look at going the Derby route for him, but that's a decision for the boss and Sheikh Hamdan."

Weld added: "It was an excellent performance by a horse coming back. My immediate comment would be that I'll discuss things with Sheikh Hamdan as he has a lot of horses in England entered in the Guineas.

"I've always considered him a horse capable of making into a Derby horse and the decision will be whether we go for the English Guineas or wait for the Derrinstown Derby Trial.

"He will stay more than a mile and I actually see him as a Derby horse. You must remember he won the best maiden possibly in Europe last year, when beating a horse I have the highest regard for.

"Better ground will be no problem to him. He's very, very adaptable and has a beautiful temperament. He's a straightforward colt and there are no complications in any way.

"Wherever he goes he's a very, very high-class horse and will always represent us very well. He has a lovely pedigree and is related to Bustino and Height Of Fashion. There is a lot of stamina in his pedigree.

"He was reasonably fit today. If you have a horse that's not fit in heavy ground it will take too much out of them. But he will come on from that. Hopefully he's a stayer with speed and I think he has a lot of ability."


From Belfast Telegraph