Harrington hopeful, but realistic as Sprewell prepares to take Auguste Rodin on again

Jessica Harrington is well aware of the task facing Sprewell in this weekend’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby.

Harrington is revered in the equine world, and having won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham and Classics on the Flat, she has mastered both of the racing codes.

She would, though, love nothing more than to win an Irish Derby. Sprewell has seven lengths to find with the odds-on favourite Auguste Rodin from the Betfred Derby, but back on a more conventional track and with less runners, Harrington hopes the Epsom fourth may be able to close the gap on Sunday.

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“I’m very happy with his preparation. He came out of Epsom very well and we’ve just slowly built him up,” she said.

“He’s a very laid-back character and it’s quite easy to keep the preparation going.

“Auguste Rodin is going to be very difficult to beat. He’s proved himself to be an exceptional horse, to come back from what was a disaster really in the English 2000 Guineas.

“It was a great training feat for Aidan (O’Brien) to get him back and to win so easily, as he did in Epsom.

“He’s got to go out and do it again, but I’m presuming he’ll be in good order. He’s got it on the board and he beat us a fair way.

“You’re always hoping. You don’t go into those races thinking, ‘I’ll be grand being second’. I want to go in there thinking, ‘I’ll be grand if I can win’.”

When asked if she thought the Curragh would suit him better, the Moone handler added: “I’m hoping it will. He hasn’t run there, but he’s gone both ways around so I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. He’s been left-handed three times now and also right-handed at Gowran.

“It looks like it’s going to be lovely ground, perfect good ground which will be ideal – no extremes in any direction.”

Harrington reported herself in good form, having come through treatment for breast cancer in recent months, and has her sights set firmly on the future.

“We’ve got through it all and I’m feeling great now, really good. I think I’m nearly back to normal because I’ve got my energy back now,” she said.

Jessica Harrington is looking forward to more big days
Jessica Harrington is looking forward to more big days (Brian Lawless/PA)

“I’m lucky I’ve got through it all and that’s the main thing. I’m only looking forward, not back. Keep looking forward to what you are going to do and don’t be looking back.

“It’s very easy to look back and get negative so you want to keep looking forward. What motivates me is that I like succeeding, I like winning, doing well and I like to get better at what I do.

“Having had the cancer I’m probably more focused now and wanting to do things. In a way it raised the question that you could get ill and then the answer was that I’m going to beat this. That makes you want more because that keeps you going.

“I hoped that if I talked about it other people would too, instead of pushing it under the carpet and going about their treatment with their heads down.

“My attitude was to go about the treatment, and that I’m going to beat this.

“There are an awful lot of things left on my list to achieve. The Irish Derby is definitely one of them, that’s on the bucket list as it were.

“There are loads of international races I’d like to win and I’d like to win more races in Ireland, you always want to win more. When you get so far you like to keep your standards up.”

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