Frankie Dettori is expecting a “massive run” from Hazapour in the Investec Derby after travelling to Ireland to partner Dermot Weld’s charge in a gallop on Tuesday morning.
With his stable jockey Pat Smullen having been out of action since late March after being diagnosed with a tumour, Weld has turned to the popular Italian to partner his Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner at Epsom.
Dettori told At The Races: “I came to ride Hazapour this morning for Mr Weld and it was nice to see Pat Smullen watching the work as well.
“It was pretty much a routine gallop. I didn’t come to press any buttons, I just came to have a feel of the horse and get to know his character.
“I was very pleased with what I saw. He was a very willing partner and he won his Derby trial very well, so it’s all systems go for Saturday.”
Dettori has won the world’s premier Classic twice before, through Authorized in 2007 and Golden Horn in 2015, with Weld’s sole success coming courtesy of Harzand just two years ago.
Harzand was the latest of leading owner-breeder the Aga Khan’s five Derby winners, going back to Shergar in 1981.
“His form is very good. The Aga Khan is steeped in Derby history and it’s a privilege for me to wear his colours,” Dettori added.
“I’m riding a horse that has won one of the well known trials in Ireland. Of course I’m looking forward to it and I’m hoping for a massive run.
“He (Weld) is very pleased with the horse. He’s a master trainer who has done it before and he’s not going to come to Epsom for the day out.
“He’s going to give a good account of himself.”
One jockey dreaming of claiming Derby glory for the first time on Saturday is James Doyle.
The leading rider will maintain his partnership with the William Haggas-trained Chester Vase hero Young Rascal after his boss, Sheikh Mohammed, allowed him to take the mount instead of riding Mark Johnston’s Dee Ex Bee, who was just behind him on the Roodee. He will be ridden by Silvestre de Sousa.
Like Dettori, Doyle enjoyed a Tuesday morning spin on his big-race mount.
Speaking at Leicester on Tuesday afternoon, Doyle told Press Association Sport: “He didn’t do anything crazy, we just had a nice leg stretch and he felt great. I’m looking forward to it.
“Chester is a good test as it is very busy, it’s a tight parade ring, there is lots of hustle and bustle and there are crowds on the inside and outside, which is similar to Epsom.
“He is very laid-back and nothing fazes him.”
Epsom sustained further rainfall on Tuesday, which forced clerk of the course Andrew Cooper into making a going change.
He tweeted: “5.5mm rain today at a murky @EpsomRacecourse. Going now back to Good to Soft with @TurfTrax reading of 6.5 this afternoon. Outlook remains unsettled.”
Cooper tweeted on Tuesday evening that the ground later turned soft following “16mm rain by 7pm”.