Rite of Passage comes into contention for Melbourne

The Dermot Weld-trained Rite of Passage is the new favourite for the Melbourne Cup with British bookmaker William Hill after his gutsy win in the historic Ascot Gold Cup overnight.

The one time jumper is into 10-1 for Melbourne after he defeated Ballydoyle’s Age of Aquarius by a neck. Serial placegetter Purple Moon was six lengths further back in third.

Weld was elated after the surprise victory of Rite of Passage.

“The Gold Cup is a race I have always wanted to win. I was second with Vinnie Roe and Vintage Crop and it was third-time lucky.”

He was quick to announce that his next big aim would be the Melbourne Cup on November 2.

“I’ve also got Profound Beauty…but it has also been a target of mine for this horse too. Today was his first big Flat target and the Melbourne Cup is his second.”

It remains to be seen whether Aidan O’Brien and Ballydoyle will consider the Melbourne Cup for Age of Aquarius. However, it is more likely that he will be aimed at races like the Prix du Cadran (4000m) during the Arc carnival at Longchamp in October.

Serial place getter Purple Moon, also placed in the 2007 Melbourne Cup, 2008 Hong Kong Vase and 2009 Dubai Sheema Classic, has not been ruled out of a return visit.

“I would be inclined to stay here and look at races like the Goodwood Cup and the Lonsdale, although I have spoken to the owner and we will probably put him in the Melbourne Cup again too,” stated trainer Luca Cumani.

The Ascot Gold Cup has not been a great guide to the Melbourne Cup.

Runners out of the Ascot Gold Cup tend to receive too much weight, struggle with the fluctuating tempo of the Melbourne Cup and are inexperienced with the hustle and bustle which characterises big fields.

However, Rite of Passage is lightly weighted, he’s raced in 24 horse fields and he stays all day.

One thing is for sure – he has the services of one of the greatest trainers in the world in Dermot Weld.

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18 Jun 2010

One Response to “Rite of Passage comes into contention for Melbourne”

  1. [...] of Passage, Age of Aquarius and Purple Moon – are all possible Melbourne Cup horses. Click here to read [...]

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