Sunday 10 December 2017

France the Rite choice for Weld's comeback

TRAINER Dermot Weld has nominated the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp as the likely comeback target for Rite Of Passage.

The 2010 Ascot Gold Cup hero has been seen just once in each of the last two seasons, and returned from over a year off the track to win the Qipco Long Distance Cup on Champions Day at Ascot last October.

The nine-year-old has not been seen so far in 2013 – he was withdrawn from the Gold Cup on the morning of the race due to quickening ground – but Weld is looking forward to a trip to France on October 6.

"It's been a wonderful summer, which is not ideal for him because with his leg problems he's a horse who has to have a good give in the ground," he said.

"I've been thinking of Paris in October and hopefully if they get the rain, the long-distance race would be his target."

Asked about the possibility of Rite Of Passage first lining up in the Irish St Leger at the Curragh on September 15, Weld said: "I don't think so. I think it's going to come too soon for us. I think we'll look at Paris."

Meanwhile, Weld has joined the roster of trainers supported by the Aga Khan in order for his owning and breeding operation to diversify in Ireland.

Both two-year-olds and yearlings will be sent to the highly-accomplished Weld, who will be one of three Irish trainers for the owner alongside John Oxx and Michael Halford.

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