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Weld mulls over Rite road to take

Dermot Weld is likely to finalise a programme for Ascot Gold Cup winner Rite Of Passage in the next two weeks.

Weld has to decide whether to run the Giant's Causeway gelding over hurdles this winter or save him for another visit to Royal Ascot in June.

"He's in great form, he's back cantering," the Curragh trainer said.

"We'll make up our minds in a couple of weeks time whether he comes back over hurdles or not, or whether we will train him specifically for the Gold Cup again."

Rite Of Passage showed very smart form over the smaller obstacles last season, finishing third to Peddlers Cross and Reve De Sivola in the Neptune Management Investment Novices' Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival.

However, his finest hour yet came in the summer when he took the big prize at Royal Ascot when sent off a 20/1 shot.

Connections of Captain Cee Bee are not too disappointed despite him finishing last of four in the Paddy Power Dial-A-Bet Chase at Leopardstown.

Having signed off his novice campaign with a Grade One victory at Punchestown, he scored on his comeback at Naas and was expected to bridge the gap into championship class at two miles.

Although he came up short against the likes of reigning Champion Chase hero Big Zeb, Frank Berry, racing manager to owner JP McManus, hopes the experience he gained on Wednesday will stand him in good stead.

"He was in against the big boys, including the Champion Chase winner, and he didn't run badly," said Berry.

"He wasn't beaten all that far and you'd be hoping on a bit better ground and with a bit more experience, he might get closer.

"We weren't too disappointed with him. He had a nice blow and hopefully he'll come on for the run.

"He has a bit of ground to make up on them, but we'll be doing our best."

Mouse Morris is excited about what the future may hold for First Lieutenant after his battling Grade One victory at Leopardstown on Wednesday.

The previously unbeaten hurdler Zaidpour was sent off at long odds-on for the paddypowerpoker.com Future Champions Novice Hurdle, but could not quite reel in First Lieutenant.

Morris takes plenty of heart from the victory given he expects him to be a much superior horse over fences and he hopes he can fill the shoes of former stable star and Cheltenham Gold Cup hero War Of Attrition.

"We're delighted with him and we were only surprised he won because we thought the trip (two miles) was too short," said Morris.

"He kind of produced what we thought, but maybe a bit earlier than we thought, without being cocky.

"He's by Presenting and ideally wants good ground.

"He's really a horse for the future.

"He might have one more run, possibly at Cheltenham in the Neptune (Investment Management Novices' Hurdle), but we won't be overdoing it this season."


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