Concorde can soar against for Weld

Trainer is readying his team of jumpers for winter campaign

It doesn't include the former bumper winner Forgotten Rules but Dermot Weld is readying a small-but-select team of jumpers for a winter campaign that is likely to see former champion jockey Davy Russell engaged more by the legendary trainer.

Fresh from a hugely-successful flat season which saw him train 92 winners in Ireland alone, Weld is anticipating an exciting National campaign for a team of novice hurdlers that includes last season's Champion Bumper winner Silver Concorde.

Winner of a flat maiden at Navan a month ago, Silver Concorde heads a group of former smart bumper winners heading over hurdles this winter which also includes Vigil and Windsor Park. Along with the Irish Lincoln winner Stuccodor, who ran twice over flights last winter, and another smart ex-flat horse in Tandem, they provide Weld with a potentially impressive strength in depth in the novice hurdle division.

“My present plan is that Tandem will run in the Royal Bond at Fairyhouse but otherwise we are looking towards Christmas where hopefully there will be some nice ground for most of them,” Weld said. “This way it gives horses that have been running on the flat a chance to freshen up and regroup.”


However one horse that won’t be in Weld’s winter calculations is Forgotten Rules, the unbeaten winner of three starts, who leaped to stardom with a Group Two success in the Long Distance Cup at Ascot’s Champions Day last month.


The Moyglare-owned horse is as low as 10 to 1 in some ante-post betting lists for the Supreme Novices Hurdle but the trainer insisted: “He is a high-class flat horse and it has never been suggested he will go jumping. He doesn’t go jumping.”

Silver Concorde is another at the top of the Supreme betting on the back of a bumper career that saw him memorably beat Shaneshill at last season’s Cheltenham festival before having to settle for second behind the same rival at Punchestown.

Silver Concorde was a 16 to 1 winner at Cheltenham in a race where his stable companion Vigil, who finished fifth, started a 5 to 1 shot. Windsor Park, like Silver Concorde, owned by Dr Ronan Lambe, has won his last four starts between bumpers and the flat.

Weld also has a possible Triumph Hurdle hope in Timiyan, a €470,000 purchase by JP McManus in September, after the son of Ghostzapper won his final two flat starts for the Aga Khan. He could make his debut over flights at Christmas, or possibly wait until January.

“I don’t have a bumper horse and I don’t have a chaser but there are half a dozen nice novice hurdle horses there for us to look forward to,” said Weld, who confirmed that Davy Russell is in line to team up with at least some of those exciting prospects who were ridden in bumpers by top amateur Robbie McNamara.

Silver Concorde’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper victory famously bridged a 24-year gap at Cheltenham since Weld’s previous festival winner, Rare Holiday in the 1990 Triumph Hurdle.

Christmas festival

Leopardstown’s Christmas festival is also a target for the smart cross-channel trained Simply Ned with trainer

Nicky Richards

nominating the Grade One Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase for the horse who found Uxizandre too good at Cheltenham on Sunday.

“He needs to go left-handed so I’d imagine his next run will at Leopardstown in the Dial-A-Bet,” Richards said. “I was probably a little disappointed he didn’t win straight after Sunday’s race but I went through the winner’s form and he’s obviously a proper horse.”

He added: “We think our lad is a very good horse as well and he’s proved he’s up to running in that company. He definitely wants better ground but he finished well up the hill so we’ll look forward to his next run.”

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor is the racing correspondent of The Irish Times. He also writes the Tipping Point column