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Irish Derby Festival: Harzand to deliver double capture in featured Curragh contest

| 25.06.2016

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

Epsom Saturday

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.

Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial - Leopardstown Races

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.

RED VERDON ridden by George Baker wins Handicap stakes at Haydock 21-5-16.

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.


You’ll find more Irish Derby Festival tips on our Curragh page.

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.

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David Metcalf

A lifelong Manchester United supporter, David has over 25 years’ experience in the media industry having worked for regional and national newspapers. He is a huge horse racing, football and greyhound fan and has done interviews on various radio and TV stations, including talkSPORT and Sky Sports, whilst working as a PR front man for a betting firm. David has also written for most of the top Premier League football fan websites, and produced a Cheltenham Festival guide with former eight-times champion national hunt jockey Peter Scudamore, MBE, after helping him to set up a syndicate for his trainer son Michael.