Trainer Dermot Weld will rest his guns on Hazapour as he bids for an 18th Royal Ascot success 46 years after winning his first race at the royal meeting. Weld is the only current trainer to have sent out a winner that long ago, claiming his first success in the 1973 King Edward VII Stakes with Klairvimy. His latest Royal Ascot winner was Free Eagle in the 2015 running of the Prince of Wales’s Stakes. However, that hasn’t deterred him from believing the Aga Khan-owned Hazapour has what it takes to build on from his Group 3 Amethyst Stakes success and be a threat in the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes.
Given a shorter trip for the Leopardstown affair where the Shamardal colt was a two and a half lengths winner over a mile, Weld feels they may have identified the 4yo’s optimal distance. “Hazapour came out of his Leopardstown race well and goes for the Queen Anne,” said Weld. Speaking after his Leopardstown win under Oisin Orr, Weld had said: “That’s his right trip. He did it well and was given a nice ride. I was pretty confident that he’d win and he did what we thought he’d do. “It’s upwards and forwards. I thought he would progress from the first run behind Magical in the Alleged Stakes and I think he’ll progress again.”
Weld engages three more during the royal meeting with the Sheikh Hamdan’s Jassaar, winner on his last two starts, lining up for the mile handicap, the Royal Hunt Cup, Falcon Eight bidding for success in the two mile Group 1 Gold Cup won by Weld in 2010 with Rite Of Passage, and Georgeville stepping up in class as he bids for the 1m2f Group 3 Hampton Court Stakes.