Pale Mimosa aimed at Melbourne Cup

Group Two-winning mare in quarantine but no ‘firm decision made on travel’ to renewal

Dermot Weld's legendary status in Australia makes even the possibility of him having a Melbourne Cup runner big news so official fingers Down Under are likely to be tightly crossed for the next few weeks that Pale Mimosa will get a green light to try to secure the Irish trainer a third win in November's world-famous race.

Weld has confirmed that his Group Two-winning mare has entered quarantine at the Curragh but stressed: “She is quarantined but no firm decision has been taken yet on whether or not she will travel.”

Vintage Crop famously opened up the “race that stops a nation” with a historic success 21 years ago while Weld also supplied Media Puzzle to score an emotionally-charged victory in 2002.

His last Melbourne Cup runner, Galileo’s Choice, was unplaced in 2012.


Local media in Australia, quoting Racing Victoria spokesman Leigh Jordan, said the authorities in Melbourne are "reasonably confident" that Pale Mimosa will make the long journey from Ireland but added that she is ground dependant and unlikely to relish the fast going that can come up at Flemington on the first Tuesday in November.


said a Weld runner is always a major attraction and added: “He’s already in rare air for an international, being the only one to win it twice. The legend would just grow if he won it a third time.”

Pale Mimosa is a 16-1 favourite for the Melbourne Cup in some European betting lists and other Irish interest in the two-mile spectacular could come from the Johnny Murtagh-trained pair Royal Diamond and Mutual Regard. The latter landed last month’s Ebor at the York festival.

Pale Mimosa defeated Estimate in the Lonsdale Cup at York before disappointing in the Irish Leger, a race that Weld’s original number one contender Forgotten Rules missed out on due to unsuitably quick going.

The Curragh trainer still hopes to give Forgotten Rules a run in this Sunday’s Loughbrown Stakes at HQ but the ground could again be a spoilsport. The going at the Curragh was “good to firm” yesterday.

“It’s the driest September we’ve had for many years and I just hope the Curragh put on sufficient water. I’m very keen to run Forgotten Rules but if there is firm in the ground description I would say it is unlikely he will run,” said Weld.

Ascot’s Long-Distance Cup is a possible target for the unbeaten Forgotten Rules and next month’s race could also be marked by a remarkable comeback for 2012 winner Rite Of Passage who hasn’t run since that day but remains in contention to make another spectacular return to action.

“I have had a few little training problems with him, mainly because of this very dry spell which makes training a horse like Rite Of Passage very difficult. I’m going to have to make my mind up about him soon,” said Weld who confirmed that no decision about Free Eagle’s next race has been made.

Free Eagle is likely to run in either the English Champion Stakes or the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp which is the race now firmly on Taghrooda’s radar after the Oaks and King George heroine impressed in a piece of work at Newmarket yesterday.

Ridden up the Rowley Mile by usual jockey Paul Hanagan, the filly, who is favourite in some antepost Arc lists, impressed in quickening away from a work companion.

“Paul was very happy with her. She looked good, moved well and seemed enthusiastic. The plan is very much to for the Arc,” reported Angus Gold, racing manager to the owner Sheikh Hamdan.

“It was a case of taking her away to give her a change of scenery. She’ll have another gallop. I don’t know when, it will be up to John [Gosden]. The main thing was she seemed enthusiastic and Paul was delighted with her,” he added.

Sunday's Juddmonte Beresford Stakes at the Curragh could see Tombelaine try to secure the Group Two prize for the big-race sponsors. Another of the 16 five-day entries for the Beresford is Clonard Street, winner of his sole start to date at the Galway festival for John McConnell in August but now owned by JP McManus and trained by Tony Martin.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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