Dermot Weld’s Silver Concorde ready for jumps take-off at Leopardstown

Cheltenham winner to lead trainer’s team of promising novices at Christmas festival

The Cheltenham Bumper hero Silver Concorde is on course to make his eagerly anticipated jumping debut at Leopardstown this week and will lead a small but select team of hugely promising novices from Dermot Weld’s stable during the Christmas action.

Like Silver Concorde, both Windsor Park and Vigil also won bumpers at Leopardstown last season and Windsor Park is another Weld star who will have a first start over hurdles at the Dublin track during the week.

Vigil in contrast is likely to return to action in a winners bumper at Leopardstown on the final day of the €1.2 million four-day festival, while the Irish Lincoln winner Stuccodor is another highly promising Weld horse due to line up in a maiden hurdle over the holiday period.

Festival blank

It was Silver Concorde though who brought a 24-year Cheltenham festival blank to an end for his legendary trainer when fighting off Shaneshill in last March’s Weatherbys Champion Bumper and he is already as low as 12/1 in some ante-post lists for the Supreme at this season’s festival.

Weld plans to give his exciting team of young National Hunt horses a final schooling session before the Christmas action begins on Friday and is keeping a close eye on ground conditions at Leopardstown where the going remains “yielding to soft”.

“We saw at Cheltenham, and also when he won at Navan on the flat, that he likes good ground. So we will have to see what the conditions will be like at Leopardstown. But at the moment the plan is for him to run in a maiden hurdle on either the first or second day, either at two miles or two miles and two. I’ve been pleased with his jumping here and hopefully that continues this week,” said Weld.

Stuccodor, who ran in two hurdles races last winter, wound up his 2014 flat campaign racing off a mark of 109 and is likely to appear in whatever race Silver Concorde skips, while Windsor Park is set to appear in a two-and-a-half mile maiden hurdle next Monday.

Like Silver Concorde, Windsor Park, winner of his last four starts, is owned by Dr Ronan Lambe and he will be ridden on his jumping debut by Davy Russell. He is currently a 20/1 shot in betting for Cheltenham's Neptune, while Vigil, who appeared to be the stable first-choice in the Cheltenham race won by Silver Concorde, is a 16/1 shot for the three-mile Albert Bartlett.

“Windsor Park is a very talented horse but perhaps has taken a bit longer to learn his trade,” Weld said.

Some schooling

“I would say Vigil will run in a winners bumper. He had some time off, had a good break, and has done some schooling but it might be a bit soon to go over hurdles with him just yet.”

The unraced First Figaro is also set to fly the Rosewell House flag in a four-year-old bumper at Leopardstown, while Truthwillsetufree will be Weld’s sole runner at Limerick in a mares maiden hurdle, where the trainer’s long-standing ally Robbie McNamara will take the mount.

Another star facing an important workout this week is Carlingford Lough, which could yet make his first start of this season in Sunday's €150,000 Lexus Chase alongside Gold Cup winners Lord Windermere and Bobs Worth.