Last Saturday, history was made on the grounds of the Epsom Downs Racecourse as the events from the Epsom Derby unfolded only to surprise everyone. Epsom Derby is known to be the greatest flat races in all of horse racing history, and the latest event should leave a mark on that event calendar as Harzand went on to claim the winning position of the much-awaited race. The highlight wasn’t his successful and victorious day, but rather the state he was in when he claimed 1st place.
Earlier on, a few hours into the race, Harzand had aggravated an injury, which half left him spending his injured foot in a bucket of ice, while the other half only left his trainer, Dermot Weld and jockey, Pat Mullen in a state of indecision and mental turmoil. Dermot Weld had his hopes up as he assessed Harzand’s chances to line up for the race as 60-40. Dermot’s assessment, as it turned out, was far-fetched given Harzand took to the track and never seemed to falter as he went to win the Epsom Derby, giving his trainer and jockey one of their greatest victories of all time. Dermot had his doubts though, and that’s perhaps what had initially compelled him to instruct Pat Mullen to pull him out off the start line and behind the stalls if he felt doubtful about Harzand’s condition to race. As it turned out, Smullen felt the need to go ahead with the race. Eventually, as Harzand and Smullen raced all-around the Downs, the confusion coupled with the restlessness of that morning turned early afternoon, suddenly transformed to an acquired calmness.
The eventuality of it all, as Smullen commented after the race, was that it was a race and win that fell according to their plans. For the two and a half minutes that he was racing, he felt as if, at every stage, he was ideally positioned and placed. Harzand’s trainer, Dermot, had the perfect decision set as he had suggested that a flatter race course would have been ideal for him to race in, given his height and bulky build, a month earlier. As he perceived it, the Agha khan-owned colt had everything under control, despite the injury he’d suffered that morning. The punters had in on the fun as well, as they went to show their support. However, most had their money on the US Army Ranger, who had topped the favourite standings with a 7-2, leaving Harzand as the third favourite with a 13-2. Either way, the race was a sight to behold. The major run happened at Tattenham Corner, making the riders alert and ready to make the final move. At a quarter-mile out, Mickael Barzalona was proving to be a challenge as he made his way for home. His challenge was, nonetheless, cut off as Harzand was sent to the lead. As a final attempt from US Army Ranger, Moore made a sudden go-for-it, but Harzand was too quick off the pace only leaving him to graze his saddlecloth before he eventually claimed the win. Despite Harzand’s under-foot injury that had Dermot all pensive, the winning crown was his to take.