Dermot Weld’s Zafayan to bid for Chester Cup

Tony Martin’s Quick Jack and Monica Dowdall-Blake’s Shu Lewis also in the running

Dermot Weld knows better than most how difficult it can be to win the Chester Cup but his Zafayan is among a trio of Irish hopefuls taking their chance in the prestigious handicap.

Tony Martin’s Quick Jack is among the market leaders for the two-mile race while Monica Dowdall-Blake takes her chance with the stalwart mare Shu Lewis.

The race has proved elusive to Irish raiders in modern times although Weld has come close to winning it in the past.

“Ansar was beaten a short head in it a few years ago (2000) before he won a couple of Galway Hurdles and Zafayan’s an interesting runner,” said Weld.


"He's drawn seven and has a nice weight. I've been looking at this for a while. He got balloted out of the Fred Winter and he won nicely at Leopardstown since so could represent us well," he added.

Amateur prize

Martin has booked

Richard Hughes

for Quick Jack who has run just twice since scoring in last summer’s big amateur prize at the Galway festival.

Quick Jack ran third in last October’s Cesarewitch at Newmarket and filled the same position behind Wicklow Brave in Cheltenham’s County Hurdle in March.

In other news, Ger Lyons still has the Irish 2,000 Guineas as a target for Endless Drama despite the colt’s half-length defeat by Tombelaine in Monday’s Tetrarch Stakes at the Curragh.

The Andrea Atzeni-ridden Endless Drama was run down in the closing stages of that contest which left Lyons happy with all bar the result.

One shot

“The first two have pulled clear and he’s still on track (for the Irish 2,000 Guineas).

“If Gleneagles turns up we might as well all stay at home, but I’m going to give him one shot at it,” said the Co Meath-based trainer.

“He’ll be better on better ground. He’s such a big, gross horse and he’ll come on again for it. I wanted to be like Pat (Smullen on Tombelaine) and come last to challenge. The only negative is that he didn’t win,” Lyons added.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column