Irish Derby Festival: Harzand to deliver double capture in featured Curragh contest
David Metcalf | June 24, 2016
Harzand hard to oppose in Irish Derby
Investec Derby hero Harzand looks a worthy favourite to land the Irish equivalent at The Curragh in the centrepiece of the Festival there on Saturday (17:20).
Trained by Dermot Weld, the three-year-old made it three out of three this season when beating US Army Ranger by 1 1/2 lengths at Epsom earlier in the month.
After being held-up in mid division by Pat Smullen, Harzand made stealthy headway three from home to take up the running a furlong out.
Form looks solid
The son of Sea The Stars then dug deep and found plenty when pressed by the eventual runner-up to win going away at the line.
It was a most taking display, and Harzand has nothing to fear with the re-opposing Idaho who finished a further 1 1/4 lengths behind in third.
The front three also pulled five lengths clear of the field to give the form a solid look so, providing this race doesn’t come too quick, the Irish Derby looks Harzand’s for the taking.
Moonlight Magic capable of bouncing back
Moonlight Magic finished tailed-off last at Epsom but didn’t seem to handle the track and ran too bad to be true.
Prior to that, the Jim Bolger trained colt had now won three of his four starts in the manner of a tough and improving sort.
In the last of those successes, Monnlight Magic showed a good attitude when landing the Derrinstown Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown where he had Idaho just under two lengths behind in third.
Judged by that running, the son of Cape Cross is a big player, and it would be no surprise to see him bounce back and put up a bold show now returned to a more conventional track.
Red Verdon the possible joker in the pack
Red Verdon encountered all sorts of trouble in-running when sixth behind Harzand at Epsom, but looks a lively outsider.
The Ed Dunlop trained colt got blocked twice when trying to come from way off the pace, and prior to that had won two handicaps in the style of an ultra-progressive sort.
This galloping track should suit Red Verdon far better than the undulations of Epsom and, with Silvestre De Sousa in the saddle, he should not be underestimated.
Coral’s top tip: Harzand rates a solid bet to complete the Derby double at The Curragh. Moonlight Magic and Red Verdon look each-way players.