Rite of Passage ready to go the distance after long layoff
DERMOT Weld's Rite Of Passage, off the track for over 500 days, could return to the scene of his finest hour for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Saturday.
Winner of the Gold Cup at Ascot two years ago, he has only run once since.
His old rival Fame And Glory, who won the race last year, is still in the mix for Aidan O'Brien but been beaten on his last two starts, at Ascot and in the Irish St Leger.
O'Brien has also left in I Have A Dream, who ran well in the Cesarewitch on Saturday.
This year's Gold Cup winner Colour Vision could run for Godolphin's Saeed bin Suroor, while Mahmood Al Zarooni could be represented by last year's runner-up Opinion Poll.
Marcus Tregoning has take Hawaafez out of the fillies' and mares' race in favour of a crack at this. Stablemate Askar Tau remains in contention.
Brown Panther is an intriguing possible for Tom Dascombe, with Chester Cup winner Ile De Re still in the hat for Donald McCain.
Aiken, Caucus and Camborne are John Gosden's possibles, while John Oxx's Saddler's Rock adds further strength in depth.
Electrolyser, Simenon and Kasbah Bliss are also engaged.
One horse missing from the entries was John Dunlop's Times Up.
The six-year-old returned to form in no uncertain terms this summer when winning his last two starts in the Lonsdale and Doncaster Cups.
It had been thought he would attempt to give Dunlop a last big winner at Ascot before he retires, but the prospect of soft ground has scuppered those plans and he has now been roughed off for the year.
"He's not running this weekend because he needs fast ground to be seen at his best and there's no prospect of that," said the Arundel handler.
"It's unlikely he'll get that anywhere now so he's been retired for the season.
"It still has not been decided who will train him next season."