Dermot Weld appears to have another genuine Classic contender on his hands in the shape of Hazapour, who took a decisive step forward with victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial Stakes at Leopardstown.
Despite only having a maiden win to his name in three starts as a two-year-old, the Aga Khan-owned Shamardal colt will now bid to emulate Harzand, who landed the Epsom Derby in 2016 after he won the Ballysax Stakes.
Sitting midfield for much of the mile-and-a-quarter contest, the 16-1 winner motored past the Aidan O’Brien-trained pair of Nelson and The Pentagon down the home straight, before defeating fellow Ballydoyle inmate Delano Roosevelt by three-quarters of a length.
Weld, who was winning the race for the ninth time, said: “He is a horse I’ve really liked. He is a very balanced colt. I thought he did it very nicely when he won his maiden at Galway.
“The horse he beat easily of Aidan’s has been running at a good level. He has developed over the winter and has progressed very nicely.
“He worked beautifully the other morning. He handles the ground well. He is a nephew of Harzand, so therefore there is only one logical way to go with him to see if he can emulate his uncle and that’s the plan.
“He is a lovely horse to train. He is stayer with speed and this has always been the plan.
“This horse has very similar characteristics to Harzand. He is very tough and is a very genuine colt. He is very adaptable ground-wise.”
He went on: “It’s a concern (the extra distance at Epsom) within reason. He is out of a mare by Daylami, but he was getting home well there.
“He has a lovely way of galloping, as he gallops low to the ground and those horses tend to stay.”
The Declan McDonogh-ridden winner was cut to 14-1 from 50-1 by RaceBets for Epsom on June 2.
McDonogh said: “He travelled so smoothly – like a dream and I’m sure he’ll come on for that again.
“He’s a really nice horse.”