Diamond Harry, tremendously impressive winner of the 2010 Hennessey Gold Cup at Newbury, is reported to have come through an operation on his soft palette with flying colours and is back on course to contest the Betfred Cheltenham Gold Cup and take on old rivals Long Run and Kauto Star once again, writes Elliot Slater.
The son of Irish Derby winner Sir Harry Lewis has been very lightly raced in recent seasons and wasn’t seen again last term after his Newbury triumph having been beset by a series of minor ailments that kept him on the sidelines until returning in the Grade 1 Betfair Chase at Haydock in November. In the circumstances Williams’ nine-year-old ran a very promising race after 12 months off and was right on the heels of the inimitable Kauto Star until fading from in the home straight and people looking at the best ante-post Cheltenham Gold Cup odds will have been impressed enough.
Given his lack of race fitness it was understandable that no eyebrows were seriously raised after Diamond Harry came home fourth at Haydock (beaten 18-lengths), but at Cheltenham in January hopes were very high that he would return to winning ways in the Grade 2 Argento Chase. Noel Fehily, riding the horse for the very first time, reported that he never felt that his mount was happy at any stage of the contest and that he suspected he was having breathing difficulties, so in the circumstances he ran a sound races to finish fifth behind Midnight Chase.
Williams, and Diamond Harry’s owner Paul Duffy, decided to immediately send their pride and joy for a soft palette operation and the first signs are that the procedure has proved successful. All systems are now go towards having this talented performer back to his best at Cheltenham in March where the current 40/1 chance will be looking to get his career back on track with a big effort.