Weld Harbours Waaheb Doubts

Wed 19th Dec 2012, 13:51

Waaheb
©Healy Racing Photos
Dermot Weld believes Waaheb has room for improvement in the jumping department ahead of the paddypower.com Future Champions Novice Hurdle at Leopardstown on December 27.

Only narrowly beaten by the ill-fated Lovethehigherlaw in a Grade One bumper at the 2011 Punchestown Festival, the five-year-old returned from well over a year off the track to make a winning start to his hurdling career at Fairyhouse in October.

He is now set for a return to the highest level, but Weld has warned his charge is not yet the finished article.

"He had one run over hurdles and won very easily. He'll reappear in the Grade One novice hurdle at Leopardstown," the trainer told At The Races.

"He's a good ground horse. I've been hoping for a bit of decent ground for him and Leopardstown is the most likely track to have the best ground.

"What I would stay at this stage is that he's a horse who is pretty inexperienced and he's still got a lot to learn about jumping.

"Whatever he does next week will be a bonus. Hopefully he'll run a good race, but his jumping needs to improve and we see him as a horse for the future."

A total of 18 horses have stood their ground for the two-mile contest, with Willie Mullins predictably heavy handed.

The champion trainer has seven engaged, including Champagne Fever, Un Atout and Annie Power.

Other major contenders include Royal Bond winner Jezki, Bright New Dawn and Sizing Rio.

Favourites at the Cheltenham Festival

The National Hunt racing season will peak in thrilling fashion during the middle week of March, as horse racing’s biggest names descend upon Gloucestershire to try and capture the copious riches on offer at the Cheltenham Festival. Legends will be made, records will be broken and history will be written as horse racing provides the best sporting drama imaginable.

THE IRISH TIMES