Harzand (left) fights off Idaho to win the Irish Derby.

Harzand (left) fights off Idaho to win the Irish Derby.


Harzand Completes Derby Double at Curragh

Son of Sea The Stars will be aimed for the Arc.

Investec Epsom Derby (Eng-l) winner Harzand saw off a strong challenge from Idaho in the final furlong to seal a classic double in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) June 25 at the Curragh. 

Harzand kept his record perfect in four starts this year, including his last-out victory in the Epsom Derby, which he took by 1 1/2 lengths from Us Army Ranger, with Idaho third. He becomes the fifth colt bred and owned by the Aga Khan to win both the Epsom and the Irish Derbys, joining Shergar (1981), Shahrastani (1986), Kahyasi  (1988), and Sinndar (2000).

 "He has such courage and determination—I needed him to dig deep for me and he did," winning rider Pat Smullen said. "This matches Epsom. The pressure was on today and we pulled it off."

While stablemate Ebediyin and Port Douglas went a good clip at the front, Pat Smullen settled Harzand in third. He asked the colt to move on the turn and got a willing response to make the lead more than a quarter mile out. 

Idaho soon came on with a strong  challenge and got on nearly even terms with Harzand inside the final furlong, but the winner surged in the closing stages to repel the threat and won by a half length as the 4-6 favorite. Stellar Mass was up for third, 3 3/4 lengths back.

"A lot of people thought Harzand didn't have speed, but he showed today that he had," trainer Dermot Weld, who earlier in the week reached a 4,000th-win milestone, told Racing Post. "He's a proper horse and the first two picked up and really quickened."  

Harzand finished 1 1/2 miles on yielding turf in 2:38.05.

Weld said Harzand will be pointed to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I), which Sinndar won in 2000 following his classic sweep.

Harzand, now one of 18 horses to complete the Epsom Derby/Irish Derby double, is from the third crop of Sea The Stars, himself a winner of the 2009 Epsom Derby and also the sire of Irish Derby third Stellar Mass.  

Bred in Ireland from the group III-winning Xaar mare Hazariya, a half sister to Irish Oaks (Ire-I) third Hazarista,  Harzand is a half brother to group III winner Harasiya (Pivotal), who was group I placed, and stakes winner Hazarafa (Daylami).