Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Weld rocks Galway again

Dermot Weld with Pat Smullen
Dermot Weld with Pat Smullen

Dermot Weld's sensational week continued at Galway as Rock Critic's victory in the Ladbrokes 'Biggest Names Best Prices' Handicap proved the highlight of a treble and helped him end the afternoon with 16 Festival winners.

The trainer saddled 11 winners at the meeting 12 months ago and that total looked sure to take some beating, but he has surpassed it with ease, while his jockey Pat Smullen has notched a dozen himself.

Rock Critic, turned out quickly after winning at the track on Thursday, was sent off the 10-11 market leader to follow up under a penalty and just got the job done under Smullen, holding on by a neck from Jamesie.

Weld said: "It was a good performance and a power-packed ride from Pat, which probably won the day. Everything had to go right to win. It was a much classier race. He's a horse that will be very impressive against a lesser class of horse, but against better horses he had to battle.

"He needs a break as he's a horse that needs to be fresh. He has been schooled over hurdles and jumps well. He could make into a nice hurdler and that would keep him sweet."

Weld had earlier struck with the Robbie McNamara-ridden Natural High in the Jockeys Association Maiden Hurdle.

The 4-9 favourite, down the field on the Flat here on Monday, collected the winner's prize by two and a half lengths, but only after a serious mistake at the second-last.

The trainer said: "He jumped well but just missed out the second-last and nearly paid for it. It knocked his confidence a bit. He should progress for the run and hopefully he'll make a nice hurdler. He would enjoy going further. Maybe two and a quarter or two and a half miles."

The hat-trick was completed by 7-2 shot Hit The Jackpot, who was driven to victory in the ladbrokes.com EBF Maiden.

Weld added: "It was good tactical ride from Pat. He said beforehand that he would be keen to make the running. He was a very fit horse and knew his job. The blinkers helped him concentrate and he kept going to the line. We'll try to go for a Listed race with him."

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