Zawraq, the tip of our resident racing expert Richard Silverwood, has been withdrawn from the Investec Derby at the last minute because of injury.
The Dermot Weld-trained colt, owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum, was one of the leading fancies for Saturday’s £1.4 million race at Epsom.
But he was found to be slightly lame after working on Thursday morning, and connections felt it was too risky to declare him to run.
Said Weld: “Zawraq did a strong canter and jockey Pat Smullen was delighted with the way he moved. However, when the horse cooled down after exercise, he was slightly lame and, consequently, he won’t be running in the Derby.”
Silverwood cursed: “It’s such a shame. The colt seemed to be returning to normal after a hiccup earlier in the week. But he was pulled out a matter of hours after the deadline for my preview piece! I considered re-hashing the piece, but the gist of it is still relevant.
“Obviously, the health and welfare of the horse must some first. But Zawraq’s defection is a hammer-blow to the quality of the field.
“Unless the ground turns considerably softer, the favourite, Golden Horn, is now much the most likely winner, to be chased home, hopefully, by Giovanni Canaletto.”