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Waaheb makes winning return

Tue, 23 October 2012

Waaheb was an impressive winner on his hurdles debut at Fairyhouse despite having had 538 days off the track.

In yet another brilliant training performance by Dermot Weld following Rite Of Passage's triumphant return at Ascot on Saturday, Waaheb made up for lost time with the minimum of fuss in the Premier Jump Weekend At Fairyhouse Hurdle in the colours of JP McManus.

Winner of three bumpers before finishing a short-head second in the Champion INH Flat Race at Punchestown in May 2011, he was sent off the 8-13 favourite and was held up in the early stages by Mark Walsh as Decade Player made most of the running.

Waaheb made smooth progress to challenge in the straight and a good jump at the last took him into the lead before he pulled nicely clear to score by six and a half lengths from Silver Friend.

Weld said: "That was very satisfactory. He still has a lot to learn. He was a bit novicey early, but his jumping improved as the race progressed.

"We'll look for a novice but could wait until Christmas as we're not in any hurry with him. I hope the spring is his target. He's won in testing ground there, but that's really not what he wants. He's a talented horse with a lot of class."

The trainer completed a double when Expanding Universe (7-4 favourite) took the concluding bumper, forging ahead in the closing stages to score by three and a half lengths in the hands of Robbie McNamara.

Henry de Bromhead looks to have another useful prospect on his hands in Sizing Rio (13-8), who put in an impressive round under Paul Carberry to see off the odds-on Cops And Robbers easily by 18 lengths in the Dine In The Bobbyjo Bistro Maiden Hurdle.

The trainer said: "He was very good in his point-to-point the day he won, but he was very disappointing when he ran in the bumper at Punchestown. We couldn't really put our finger on what went wrong, but he's put that behind him now.

"I was tempted to go for another bumper the way he's been working, but he jumps well so we decided to go over hurdles. His half-brother Sizing Mexico was a real out-and-out stayer, but this lad's a lot sharper. He'll probably go for a two-mile novice somewhere within the next month."