Saturday 24 February 2018

No Passage to Melbourne for Weld's Ascot hero

Thomas Kelly

DERMOT Weld's Ascot Gold Cup hero Rite Of Passage looks set to miss the Emirates Melbourne Cup after he was withdrawn from the ante-post market by most major bookmakers last night.

Doubts about the former bumper winner's participation in the Flemington showpiece initially surfaced when he was forced to miss the Irish St Leger earlier this month and it now appears that he will not be making the long journey.

Stablemate Profound Beauty, which was runner-up to San Frontieres in the Irish St Leger, is a general 14/1 chance for the November 2 feature and her run ultimately depends on the ground at Flemington not being too firm.

One horse that will be heading Down Under is Godolphin's Holberg, which booked his ticket for the big race with a tenacious effort in the Mouton Cadet Classic Foundation Stakes at Goodwood yesterday.

Running over what was an insufficient distance for the son of Halling, Frankie Dettori ensured his stamina came to the fore by attempting to make all over the 10-furlong trip.

Pink Symphony had other ideas, briefly heading Holberg on the run to the line, but the 11/10 favourite pulled out more in the finish to win by a short head.

Trainer Saeed Bin Suroor said: "He will be better over a longer distance. Two miles will suit him - he'll go into quarantine on Sunday with Campanologist."

Dettori has not picked a mount yet, but observed: "This horse has got a better weight, but we need to see how they travel out there."

Meanwhile, Queen's Vase winner Mikhail Glinka is all set to have his first start for Gary Moore in Sunday's Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot.

The former Aidan O'Brien-trained inmate last ran in the Russian Derby when listed as being trained by Herman Brown.

He was bought by Ramzan Kadyrov, the president of Chechnya, which explains his appearance in Russia, and Moore is excited to get the chance to run him under his own name.

Before leaving O'Brien he was among the leading fancies for the St Leger and the Ebor. "The Cumberland Lodge is very much the plan for him," said Moore.

"He worked this morning and he worked well, so I'm looking forward to running him. When he ran in Russia he came straight back to me. I had him before he went and he came back within three days. He ran on the Saturday and came back on the Monday.

"He shows a lot of class. I wish the race was further, but there you go, a mile and a half should be okay."

Jeremy Noseda has announced that high-class sprinter Fleeting Spirit has been retired. The five-year-old was being prepared for a final crack at the Prix de l'Abbaye, but connections have decided it is in the best interests of the mare to call time on her career.

"It is with some sadness that we are announcing the retirement of Fleeting Spirit. She has been such a great servant to her owners and all of us at Shalfleet Stables," said Noseda.

Her crowning moment came in her four-year-old season, when she beat a high-class field in the July Cup.

Irish Independent

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