Sport Horse Racing

Sunday 22 April 2018

Waaheb class delights Weld

Thomas Kelly

Waaheb earned a 12/1 quote for Cheltenham's Supreme Novices Hurdle after his impressive winning debut over hurdles at Fairyhouse.

In yet another brilliant training performance by Dermot Weld, following Rite Of Passage's triumphant return at Ascot on Saturday, Waaheb overcame a 538-day absence with the minimum of fuss in the Premier Jump Weekend Fairyhouse Hurdle.

Winner of three bumpers before finishing second in the champion bumper at Punchestown in May 2011, he was sent off the 8/13 favourite.

Held up in the early stage by Mark Walsh as Decade Player made most of the running, the JP McManus-owned gelding made smooth progress to challenge in the straight and pulled nicely clear to beat Silver Friend by six lengths. "That was very satisfactory," remarked Weld. "He still has a lot to learn. He was a bit novicey early, but his jumping improved as the race progressed. "We'll look for a novice, but could wait until Christmas as we're not in any hurry. He's won in testing ground there, but that's really not what he wants -- he's a talented horse with a lot of class."

Weld later doubled up when Expanding Universe justified 7/4 favouritism to take the concluding bumper under Robbie McNamara.

Henry de Bromhead looks to have another useful prospect on his hands in the Potts colours in Sizing Rio, which put in an impressive round to see off the odds-on Cops And Robbers in the opening maiden hurdle.

Paul Carberry sent the 13/8 chance past long-time leader Strategic Bid at the third-last flight and, though Cops And Robbers gave chase, he was never able to get near enough to land a blow. The winning distance was 18 lengths.

The well-backed Seefood followed up his victory in a Clonmel bumper by landing the two and a half mile maiden hurdle.Bryan Cooper caught long-time leader Kims Fancy two out and the Dessie Hughes-trained five-year-old swept clear to win by 12 lengths from Share Wood, with favourite War Correspondent a disappointing fourth.

Davy Russell was on the mark in the two-mile handicap hurdle on Dactick, while the stayers' event saw the Willie Mullins-trained Away We Go (15/8 favourite) resist the persistent Ballygill Gale by a head.

Irish Independent

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