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Saturday 3 December 2016

Weld's Titus triumphs

Titus, with Pat Smullen aboard, won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF C&G Maiden at Leopardstown Picture: Patrick McCann
Titus, with Pat Smullen aboard, won the Irish Stallion Farms EBF C&G Maiden at Leopardstown Picture: Patrick McCann

A season which centred around the Irish and English Derby triumph's of Harzand is ending on a high for Dermot Weld and Pat Smullen as they left Leopardstown's penultimate flat meeting with two promising Classic contenders for next season.

Weld's Titus was a Derby entry prior to yesterday's debut success and a return to Foxrock for a Classic trial next year could be on the agenda for him.

Sent off an 8/1 chance for his debut, there was no major rush from the bookmakers representatives with quotes for next years Epsom classic but the outcome of yesterday's race was of little surprise to the trainer

"I thought he was a colt that could go very close first time out," Weld admitted.

"He did one or two nice pieces of work at home and I was very pleased with him. I thought he'd run a very nice race and that's what he's done. He's a very big colt and a horse with a lot of potential.

"He'll probably appear in a classic trial towards the end of April or early May. What his distance will be next year I'm not sure but I would imagine we will start out over a mile. But for a big colt who could stay well, he is a colt with plenty of pace anyway.

Pace

"He'll always want good ground and that's one of the reasons we came here for the nice ground.

"He's 16'2 and what I like about him is that for a horse that will probably stay well he has plenty of pace. I would expect him to be a stakes horse next year.

"He has an awful lot to learn as he's never been away before. It's all new to him and he's a gorgeous big horse."

Weld was again full of praise for his stable jockey and Ireland's champion, Pat Smullen, after Making Light won the Killavullan Stakes with a length to spare over Spirit Of Valor.

"It's been a wonderful year for Pat and I. We've won over 90 races and I think we had 10 group winners apart from the Derby wins.

"Spring, summer and autumn they've been running well and Pat has ridden brilliantly," Weld reflected.

Meanwhile, trainer Aidan O'Brien could look to Found to help him inch closer to the Group One record of Bobby Frankel as the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner and dual Champion Stakes runner-up, may end her campaign at the Breeders' Cup.

The champion trainer said at Leopardstown; "I'm not sure she'll be entered in the Filly & Mare, she might be entered in the Turf and she might be entered in the Classic. The lads will decide when the dust settles, see how she is and how everything is, I think.

"She's a great mare, she travels strongly and she stays well. She is gutsy and determined and she's brave.

"Obviously it (Classic) is totally into the unknown, but the lads will talk about that and see what they want to do. But she is a great mare, really.

"She might retire after this year anyway, so it's getting to the end of her runs, but we'll see how she is during the week, she seems to be in good form."

Meanwhile, the final race of the Leopardstown card yesterday was the Corinthian Challenge Charity Race for Irish Injured Jockey and it was a first winner in Ireland ridden by Sheikh Fahad Al Thani as he partnered the very talented Labaik to victory.

Overall the three race Corinthian Challenge Series raised over €120,000 for the Irish Injured Jockeys and it was a pleasure to be a part of it by riding in races at Naas, the Curragh and Leopardstown.

All the riders would like to thank all owners and trainers who supplied horses and anyone who assisted in any way as the Irish Injured Jockeys does vital work for the people that make racing happen on a daily basis.

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