First Breeders’ Cup Success for Irish Trainer Dermot Weld


Trainer Dermot Weld got his first Breeders’ Cup win after saddling Tarnawa to a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1). (Photo credit: Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup/Cal Sport Media)

The Breeders Cup took place earlier this month and produced a memorable two days for racing fans around the world. Recent years have seen the home team dominate but the horses travelling over fared much better in 2020, with much success. One that must be mentioned is the four-year-old, Tarnawa. The latter is trained by Dermot Weld and continued her incredible 2020 season to win a first Breeders Cup race for her trainer. This was also a breakthrough success for Colin Keane, who had recently been crowned the champion jockey in Ireland for the second time. Betting in UK was also another popular trend on the event, with the support coming in late for Tarnawa ahead of her recent impressive victory.

Tarnawa has been a horse of great consistency this season and has returned by winning each of her four starts. Following a 294-day break, Tarnawa returned to win a Group three impressively under Oisin Orr. She then followed up in the Group one Qatar Prix Vermeille, when staying on very strongly to run away with the race by three lengths. That was an eye-catching performance and another example, that Weld had another star on his hands.

Another big test followed for Tarnawa, as she was set to contest the Prix de l’Opera Longines at Longchamp on Arc weekend. Under Christophe Soumillion, she again showed her battling qualities, as she stayed on to lead 50 yards out and hold on by a short neck from favourite Alpine Star. This continued her remarkable season and set her up for a strong tilt at Breeders Cup glory.

Tarnawa Second Choice in Turf

Keeneland and the Breeders Cup was next up for Tarnawa, as she was sent off as the second favourite for the Breeders Cup Turf. Magical was the strong favourite and expected to take all the beating and it did turn out to be a battle between the pair. Tarnawa was held up towards the rear, before she made strong late headway from the outside. She then continued to pick up ground and then to finally lead from 150 yards out and win readily by a length from Magical. This was a ‘Magical’ performance for the horse and connections and stamped her down as a real star of the 2020 season, with three Group one victories in succession.

This performance showed that patience is key for Weld, who has brought the horse on slowly and is now reaping the rewards. He had tried with 16 runners for a Breeders Cup success and finally landed his maiden with this victory. His son was at the track and said “We’re absolutely over the moon and it doesn’t get any bigger than this. I’m thrilled for His Highness the Aga Khan and his team and the people back home in Ireland. I’m sad my dad is not here, but Covid has put paid to that. This is a remarkable filly and we’ve been on a wonderful journey with her. She’s like a jet; she sees the runway and off she goes. Dad has a done a remarkable job and deserves so much credit.”

Breeders’ Cup Turf Replay

Tarnawa has now been put in near the top of the betting for next year’s Arc, so it sets up for a fascinating period ahead for the horse.

NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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