Weld keeps his options open for Longchamp


RACING:IRISH INTEREST in Sunday’s Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe largely appears to revolve around the “will-he-won’t-he-run” question mark hanging over Camelot but other Irish plans for the Arc weekend spectacular at Longchamp are also being finalised.

Dermot Weld intends to give his 2010 Ascot Gold Cup hero Rite Of Passage a vital workout this morning, on the back of which a decision will be made on whether the dual-purpose star has a first start in almost a year and a half in Sunday’s Prix Du Cadran.

Whatever the outcome of that, the Curragh trainer confirmed yesterday his Galtres Stakes winner Pale Mimosa will be upped to Group Two level on Saturday, in either the €250,000 Prix Du Royallieu over a mile and five furlongs or the €200,000 Prix Chaudenay over a mile and seven.

“Famous Name is also in the Prix Dollar on the same day and we will decide about him during the week,” Weld said. “But Rite Of Passage will work in the morning and then we will make a decision on whether or not he goes to France.”

Ground conditions at Longchamp yesterday were officially “soft” although weather conditions for Paris over the next few days are reportedly set to be fair.

That will be mixed news for a number of Irish trainers with hopes to appear on the €6 million Sunday card which contains seven Group One events, although Aidan O’Brien’s priority remains whether to run his triple-Classic winner Camelot in the Arc itself. And if he does run who will ride him.

Joseph O’Brien’s inability to make the 8st 11lb weight for three year olds in the Arc meant Ryan Moore’s name had been mooted as a possible new rider for Camleot but that appeared to be ruled out yesterday with the Juddmonte team indicating their Hardwicke winner, Sea Moon, is likely to line up.

Moore has been sidelined by injury since late August and his comeback date has yet to be confirmed, but Thursday will be the earliest he can return after his name did not feature among declarations for tomorrow.

The Juddmonte spokesman Lord Grimthorpe said: “It’s on the agenda and at the moment we’re heading that way. As long as things keep going as they are hopefully Sea Moon will be there. I’m waiting on more news (about Moore) but hopefully he’ll be on board.”

Despite the uncertainty surrounding Camelot’s participation, the Guineas and dual-Derby champion was backed yesterday, with Paddy Power reporting: “We’ve seen a lot of money for Camelot from the type of punter who wouldn’t usually be having a bet for no reason. The 5 to 1 is under a bit of pressure as well and the dough would perhaps suggest that he is a likely combatant in Paris.”

Fresh from unveiling a new Classic aspirant for 2013 with Viztoria at the Curragh on Sunday, Eddie Lynam hopes his stable stable stalwart Sole Power can go two better on his 2011 third in the Prix de l’Abbaye this Sunday.

“Sole Power is on course for Longchamp. He’s in good form and everything has gone well so far, touch wood. Johnny Murtagh rides,” the Co Meath trainer said yesterday.

Viztoria is a 16 to 1 shot in some lists for the 1,000 Guineas next year after her Blenheim Stakes rout and Lynam is relishing the chance to train such an exciting filly. “The plan is to go for a Group Two at Maisons-Laffitte in early November, but if her coat has gone or we’re not happy with her, we’ll give it a miss and wait until next year. The dream is alive and that’s what it’s all about in this job,” he said.

“I genuinely don’t know how she’ll go on better ground, but the way the weather has been in England and Ireland for the last couple of years, you’re almost better off with a soft ground horse than a fast ground horse,” said the trainer.

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