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All eyes on Gold for Weld

Sun, 21 October 2012

Dermot Weld maintains his prime objective is to keep Rite Of Passage sound for another crack at the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot next summer.

The Curragh trainer reports the eight-year-old to have had no ill-effects following his superb victory in the Qipco Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday on his first run for 510 days after being sidelined with a tendon injury.

Weld told At The Races: "The good news is he seems 100 per cent. This morning I was happy with him when I looked at his tendons, they seemed perfect. Right now I would say the priority is to keep him sound and win the Gold Cup again in 2013 (having won it in 2010)."

He went on: "Yesterday meant a lot to me because we had to overcome huge problems with Rite Of Passage. There were many times I even thought myself I should stop with this horse.

"Unfortunately when he set the track record when he won the Ascot Gold Cup in 2010 he came back with a lot of heat and damage to his tendons. It was just a long process to get those tendon fibres to repair.

"We thought we had him right when we ran him nearly a year later, but unfortunately we damaged them again. We had them re-treated again and it was a long time.

"If we had a clear run with him we'd have won the last two Gold Cups in my opinion. I'm pretty confident he would have. He's a very talented racehorse."

Weld has not ruled out Rite Of Passage, who was third to Peddlers Cross in the Neptune Management Investment Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival in 2010, running over the smaller obstacles in the future.

"I will discuss it with Dr (Ronan) Lambe in the coming week. We'll see how he is and we will review everything," he said.

"There is no definite decision going to be made, but if he did go back it would be for the World Hurdle. He's a super leaper, he's an athlete. He is getting on in years, so it is something we will consider."