Tarnawa may represent Dermot Weld at the 2020 Breeders’ Cup

October 6, 2020

The Irish filly Tarnawa, winner of Sunday’s Group 1 Prix de l’Opera at ParisLongchamp, France, is likely to travel to the 2020 Breeders’ Cup World Championships in Keeneland on November 6 and 7.

The four-year-old daughter of Shamardal, trained by 1990 Belmont Stakes-winning handler Dermot Weld, is now one of Europe’s top fillies, having previously won the Group 1 Prix Vermeille over 1m 4 furlongs at the French racetrack last month.

Bred and raced by H H Aga Khan, Tarnawa, out of dual Listed Stakes winner Tarana (by Cape Cross), denied another Irish-trained filly and Group 1 winner, Alpine Star, by a short-neck at the end of the 1 mile 2 furlong contest last weekend.

Mark Weld, who represented his father, Dermot, in Paris, immediately hinted at a trip Stateside post-race, stating:

“We’ll have to discuss her future with His Highness (Aga Khan). She gets a free entry into the Breeders’ Cup, I believe, which is definitely a possibility.” 

The filly will have the choice of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf over 1 mile 2 furlongs or the Breeders’ Cup Turf, where she would take on colts and geldings.

Her 72-year-old trainer is currently favouring a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup Turf over the filly’s optimum distance of 1 m 4 furlongs should the ground be firm. 

“No decision will be made yet whether it will be the Filly & Mare or the Breeders’ Cup Turf”, Dermot Weld stated yesterday.

“I would like to see nearer to the day. It will be early November and I’ve been in Kentucky when they’ve had snow at that time of year, so don’t take it for definite the ground would be firm. Those factors will come into my mind.”

The Rosewell House, Co. Kildare-based trainer is no stranger to Grade 1 success in the United States. As well as winning the 1990 Belmont Stakes with Go And Go, the qualified veterinarian won the American Derby at Arlington Park three times, with Pine Dance (2000), Evolving Tactics (2003) and Simple Exchange (2004).

The filly Dimitrova gave the Irish handler further US triumphs when winning the American Oaks at Santa Anita Park in 2003, the same year the daughter of Swain also won Belmont Park’s Flower Bowl Invitational Stakes.

The former amateur jockey tasted Matriarch Stakes training success with Dress To Thrill in 2002, he took the Secretariat Stakes with Winchester in 2008, while his most recent major US achievement was the win of Zhukova in the Grade 1 Man o’War Stakes at Belmont Park in 2017.

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin lives in Ireland and writes specifically about Irish, British and French horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in...

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