Weld looks to Sussex Stakes for Imaging

No regrets over Irish 2,000 Guineas as powerful colt takes break until Goodwood

Dermot Weld has insisted he has "no regrets" about skipping the Irish 2,000 Guineas with Imaging and the colt is likely to line up next in Group One company in the QIPCO Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

On his last start, Imaging landed the Tetrarch Stakes at Naas and had the subsequent Irish Guineas hero Romanised back in sixth.

Romanised is set to put his classic credentials on the line in next week’s St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. Imaging is also in that race but will skip it and wait instead for the Sussex on August 1st.

“He’s on a little break at the moment and is unlikely to go to Ascot. The present plan is to wait for the Sussex at Goodwood.

“He’s a big powerful colt who had a busy spring. He started very early in the years so I decided to give him a little break. We have a lot to look forward to with him in the second part of the year,” Weld said on Sunday.

“The form of his win in the Tetrarch has worked out extremely well but I just felt the ground would be too fast for him at the Curragh. It was very firm on the day so there are no regrets about not running him,” he added.

Weld has saddled 17 Royal Ascot winners during his career but expects to be “lighter this year” during next week’s flat extravaganza.

However he indicated that both Broad Street and Bandua, who were added to the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the second stage, remain possible starters in the Curragh’s €1.5 million feature at the end of the month.

Gold Cup

Willie Mullins could have up to half a dozen Royal Ascot runners including both Thomas Hobson and Max Dynamite in the Gold Cup.

The champion jumps trainer was on the mark with Bapaume in the Prix La Barka at Auteuil on Saturday and is aiming to improve on his five-winner Royal Ascot haul to date.

“Hopefully we will have somewhere between three and six runners. Max Dynamite and Thomas Hobson will probably go to the Gold Cup and if they ran into a place that would be terrific.

“The Ascot Stakes and Queen Alexandra have been lucky for us and we will have entries in those races but we haven’t decided which will run in them yet,” Mullins reported.

There was other Irish success at Auteuil when Baie De Iles landed a Grade Two chase for trainer Ross O'Sullivan. Bapaume's rider Paul Townend was also on board the mare who gave O'Sullivan a winner with his first runner in France.

“It’s magic, a fairytale – I can’t believe it,” O’Sullivan said. “She stayed really well and she’d won around here before. It’s horses for courses I suppose. When she decides she’s enjoying it she can be very good.”

Racing resumes in Ireland on Monday at Roscommon where Colin Keane can guide A Likely Story to success in a division of the seven furlong handicap.

Brian O'Connor

Brian O'Connor

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