Racing: Grey Swallow ready to clash with Doyen

Whatever happens for the rest of this season, indeed in his entire career, Dermot Weld is a great winner. The Irish trainer has achieved the remarkable feat of sending out the first horse in the Galway Plate last week and living, and remembering, long enough to tell the tale.

Whatever happens for the rest of this season, indeed in his entire career, Dermot Weld is a great winner. The Irish trainer has achieved the remarkable feat of sending out the first horse in the Galway Plate last week and living, and remembering, long enough to tell the tale.

The Galway Festival is a place where Bacchus would fear to tread, a venue to which only the most fearless purchase a return ticket. The popping corks provoked by Ansar last Wednesday may be just the first volley to be heard around Rosewell House on the Curragh in the coming weeks and months.

The beauty of this stage of the season is that the small and weak players have been forced away from the table. All that remains are the high rollers and the anticipation of great hands to be played.

Weld yesterday contributed to what will be a fantastic pot next month when he announced that Grey Swallow had matured into "the horse I always knew he would be" and was travelling down the lines neatly to an engagement in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown.

That puts the grey on a spectacular collision course with the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes winner, Doyen, in a race which could start a series between the champions apparent. The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, at Longchamp on 3 October, also lies on the respective agendas.

Grey Swallow was in danger of becoming a nearly horse after placed efforts in the 2,000 Guineas and the Irish equivalent this spring, but all talk of fragility was blown away when Grey Swallow himself blew away the Epsom Blue Riband victor North Light with a neat burst on the Curragh in the Irish Derby. "We now know he gets a mile and a half in a really strongly-run Derby. The Arc is his autumn target, but the Irish Champion is, if I can use the word, his prep race. But it's a very tough prep race and maybe even tougher than the Arc," Weld said.

Grey Swallow had threatened to be little more than a juvenile spark, following a two-year-old career in which he was unbeaten in three starts. The season's early salvos were not particularly portentous, but we now know there is much more to him than youthful exuberance.

"He was a brilliant two-year-old, that's why he was champion two-year-old of Ireland. He ran fourth in the English Guineas and third in the Irish Guineas and he has progressed," the trainer added. "The conditions in the spring were changeable and a lot of the horses weren't at their peak. There were little viruses floating around and my overall team had not struck real form.

"Grey Swallow was always healthy, but the horses around him were just running slightly beneath what I know they are capable of and I'm sure he was just beneath the top of his form.

"The Guineas come very early in the year, too early, I think. He ran two excellent races in them but I now believe he has matured into the horse I always thought he would be. I said before the Irish Derby that he was a better horse. He was stronger and physically better and he has continued to progress."

Another of the great breathing monuments at Weld's yard will soon be wheeled out again. Media Puzzle will return at this local Curragh track at the weekend for the first time since he made himself famous on the other side of the world with success in the 2002 Melbourne Cup.

The now seven-year-old is scheduled to participate in the Group Two Royal Whip over what will almost certainly prove an inadequate 10 furlongs on Sunday.

"He's in super order, although he will probably need the run because he has been off the track for so long and it is also over a mile and two furlongs," Weld said.

"But he starts his comeback with the objective of the Melbourne Cup again, if he gets a reasonable weight and a fair shot. We'll see how he progresses in the coming months, but the Melbourne Cup is his target."

* Bay Tree and Kinnaird will represent British stables in the Prix de Psyche at Deauville today. Tom Queally will be aboard David Loder's Bay Tree, while Kevin Darley takes the ride on Patrick Haslam's Kinnaird in the Group Three contest. Bay Tree steps back up in class after finishing unplaced in Listed company at Royal Ascot on her last outing. Kinnaird seeks compensation after three good efforts this season.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

£26000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A luxury beauty house with a nu...

Recruitment Genius: Housekeepers - Immediate Start

£8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This company are currently recruiting new exp...

Recruitment Genius: Head Concierge

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award winning Property Man...

Recruitment Genius: Content, SEO and PPC Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A fantastic opportunity has ari...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral