British Champions Series stars to stud: Harzand
23 Nov 2016
In the first of a new weekly series, we take a look at the leading lights who will be off to the breeding sheds in 2017. Where better to start than with the Derby winner?
Harzand will stand at the Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud, in Ireland. His stallion fee for 2017 is €15,000
Trained by Dermot Weld, Harzand won four of his seven races and earned his owner, the Aga Khan, more than £1.5million in prize money. The Sea The Stars colt ran only once as a two-year-old, finishing fifth of 16 in a mile maiden at Gowran Park in September but quickly made an impression as a three-year-old, winning a ten-furlong maiden at Cork in March by 16 lengths from subsequent Queen’s Vase winner Sword Fighter. He followed up in the Group Three Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown and then came victories in the Investec Derby and Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. At Epsom, he won by a length and a half from US Army Ranger, overcoming a late injury scare after pulling off a shoe en route to the races. Harzand then started 2-1 favourite for the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes after being given a break but he got struck into early on and could finish only seventh behind Almanzor. That was not an ideal preparation for his final start, the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in which he finished ninth of 16 in a race won by Found.
Winning the Investec Derby at Epsom in June and, in the process, giving his trainer his first success in the race after 44 years with a licence. Never far away, Harzand hit the front over a furlong out and stuck on in resolute style to win by a length from US Army Ranger, with Idaho just over a length farther back in third. “I suppose not winning the Derby has been nagging away at me for a bit,” Weld said. “It was the one race I needed to win.”
What they said about him
Dermot Weld, his trainer, said: “He’s been a wonderful horse to train. He’s a beautifully-made colt, very sound. It’s been a team effort. People forget he won his maiden by 16 lengths in March and then the Ballysax in April. He has done everybody proud and it’s been an honour to train him.”
Pat Smullen, his jockey, said after the Irish Derby: “He’s such a great horse, he’s got such determination. I don’t think I’ve ever ridden such a courageous horse.”
Where will he stand?
The Aga Khan’s Gilltown Stud, in Ireland where Harzand’s own sire, Sea The Stars, already stands. His stallion fee for 2017 is €15,000. After Harzand had won the Irish Derby, the Aga Khan said: “This horse is very good. It’s a wonderful family and we checked him with all our mares and he’ll mate very well with them, so we’re looking forward to when he goes to stud and we’ll be right behind him. Gilltown and the adjoining Sallymount stud cover approximately 1,250 acres. Gilltown House overlooks a 16 acre lake and its surroundings are home to a large variety of wildlife and one of the principal features of the stud is its beautiful oak avenue. Larger than life-size bronzes of Shergar and Sinndar also form part of the peaceful scenery.
What should we expect from his offspring?
Toughness, a will to win and the ability to stay well. Many believed Harzand would have been suited by the demands of the St Leger and it will be interesting to see how far his progeny stay in the future.