Forgotten Rules in pole position for Ascot Gold Cup
Ascot Gold Cup remains the plan for Weld's classy Rules
Forgotten Rules turned up for the Group Three Vintage Crop Stakes yesterday as the ante-post favourite for the Ascot Gold Cup.
There was an air of caution around Navan with fears that conceding weight and race-fitness to Jim Bolger's Answered might be too big an ask on this occasion, but like the classy aninmal that he is, Forgotten Rules quashed any such fears and obliged under Pat Smullen.
Pulling clear of the third horse Sir Ector, Forgotten Rules and Answered look to be two high-class stayers. But, until proven otherwise, Forgotten Rules remains on course to be a real superstar of this division. Yesterday's win promoted bookmakers to shorten him further at the head of the betting for the Ascot Gold Cup.
His trainer, Dermot Weld, was clearly delighted with the efforts of the five-year-old, who carried 5lbs more than the runner-up, and Weld described it as "an excellent performance".
He added: "The runner-up horse is very good and that is why Jim supplemented him for this race.
"It's very pleasing for his first run because I feel that it was an excellent renewal of the race."
All roads now lead to the Ascot Gold Cup but Weld did rule out his participation if the ground turned up too quick.
"I was pleased he handled the dry ground, and that augers well for the future, but that was beautiful ground out there and a credit to Navan.
"The Ascot Gold Cup is the obvious next race for him but the one caveat I must add is that he wouldn't want the ground too firm.
"Two brave horses fought out the finish and I was very proud of my horse as they went a really good gallop and took no prisoners out there so it was a proper race."
Weld's other big star at the moment is Classic hopeful Zawraq, who has possible engagements in Saturday's Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh or the Epsom Derby next month.
"No great decision has been made but it's pretty certain he will go straight to the Derby," Weld said. "He had a little hold-up but he came back nice and quick and is progressing along nicely. The Derby has always been the plan but that said, he will be left in the Guineas on Tuesday and we have a week to decide if he goes to the Curragh or not."
Mick Halford warmed up for Irish Guineas weekend with a potential Royal Ascot candidate in Toscanini.
The Godolphin owned three-year-old justified odds on favouritism to take the Brews Hill Race and he'll now head to Naas prior to his trip across the water.
"It's good to get him started," Halford said. "He travelled well but wasn't doing a whole lot in front. He'll go to Naas for the Lacken Stakes and then Ascot.
"He was ready to start and I'm very happy. Shane said he had a good blow at the furlong pole and was just doing enough."
David Wachman could hardly have his team in better form at the moment and he and stable jockey Wayne Lordan combined for a double with Auld Enemy making a winning debut and Curvy completing the brace.