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Saturday 10 December 2016

Weld's Eagle being prepared for paris

As you would expect, the current betting for the Prix de l'Arc de Triopmhe is a bit of a who's who of horses in training at the moment with Treve the favourite as she seeks a historic third in a row.

She is closely followed by the Epsom Derby and Coral-Eclipse winner Golden Horn, Irish Derby winner Jack Hobbs and French Derby winner New Bay.

But on their heels in terms of betting is the Dermot Weld-trained Free Eagle and Ireland's winning most trainer is confident that there is more to come from the high class Moyglare-owned four-year-old.

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Having raced only five-times in his career so far, Free Eagle has won three including the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and his regular rider Pat Smullen has made no secret of how highly he rates the son of High Chaparral.

Weld is now eyeing up October's Longchamp feature for Free Eagle and the trainer is still hopeful of more to come.

"We're always expecting better. I had a hold-up with him just before he won at Royal Ascot, where I thought he put up an excellent performance in winning the Prince of Wales's," Weld said.

"It was lovely to win a nice Group One with him at Royal Ascot but I think there's more to come and, with luck, he can do better in the autumn."

Weld hadn't got much luck with the horse last year in terms of niggly problems and he explained: "Unfortunately, he got a stress fracture of his tibia when he was working exceptionally well (last year) and that delayed his entire late spring and summer campaign.

"He didn't reappear until September, when he won a nice Group race at Leopardstown, and it was then unfortunate on Champions Day at Ascot that he had to run on very heavy ground. He ran such an excellent race just to be beaten."

It was over a mile and a quarter that Free Eagle recorded the biggest success of his career so far but Weld isn't overly concerned about the prospect of stepping up another two-furlongs to a mile and a half in the Arc.

Weld added: "I'm not certain what his best trip is. He's very good at 10 furlongs as he has a lot of pace, but I believe he can carry it out over a mile and a half.

"He's relaxed and well balanced and hopefully he'll be able to run in the Arc."

Meanwhile, Michael O'Leary's will have five chances to win the Midlands National at his local track Kilbeggan this evening, a race which the Ryanair supremo's Gigginstown House Stud sponsor.

O'Leary is yet to win the race under the Gigginstown sponsorship but did win it in 2004 with the Dessie Hughes trained and Paddy Flood ridden Night Busker.

This evening the race is due off at 8.30pm and the well known colours will be carried by Make A Track, Fort Smith and Akorakor all of whom are trained by Gordon Elliott, the Willie Mullins trained Balnaslow and the Mouse Morris trained Ravished, the course and distance winner who was the pick of O'Leary's retained rider Bryan Cooper.

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