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Dermot Weld on international racing | "I realised the opposition wasn't as good as in Ireland"

Thom Malone
Thom Malone

19:29 11 Sep 2020

Legendary trainer Dermot Weld joined the lads on Friday Night Racing in association with Horse Racing Ireland on Off The Ball where he reflected on some of his incredible career achievements.

The master of Rosewell House on the Curragh is a pioneer for campaigning his horses across the globe and remains the only European trainer to win a Belmont Stakes, one leg of the American Triple Crown.

The ambition to run his horses internationally came from a combination of factors. They include the strength of competition in Ireland and his father's training exploits before him.

Dermot Weld told an incredible story about his father sending a horse to run in America in the 1960s.

"I had to take on in the early days Vincent O'Brien and Paddy Prendergast," recalled Weld, "who are two of the greatest trainers of all time.

"So, I quickly realised having been a vet and having been around the world myself, having been champion amateur rider three times. In those days I rode winners in France, I rode a winner in South Africa, I rode a winner in America.

"I realised when I went to these countries the opposition training-wise and indeed riding-wise in many cases wasn't as good as Ireland.

"If I could travel horses to these countries, which wasn't easy I can tell you, and nobody had done it other than my father.

"He was the very first when he ran a very good horse called Farney Fox when he ran in the Washington International in 1963."

Two Russian runners and a Japanese runner

Weld remembers the logistics of the horse getting to the states, no mean feat at the time, one Weld is proud of.

"For my late father to bring the horse to America he flew out of Shannon into Washington DC, he actually ran a very very good race.

There was a genuinely international flavour to events, incredible given the political climate at the time at the height of the Cold war and not long after the Cuban Missle Crisis.

"It's hard to believe that year, there were two Russian runners and a Japanese runner in the race, it was in 1963.

"Micheal O'Hehir did the commentary and then he stayed over there to do the commentary on JFK's funeral."

"I remember, the late Joe Malone was the man who brought Farney Fox out for the Donnelly family in Dundalk and TP Burns rode him and he ran an excellent race. The trip was a bit sharp for him at Laurel Park," remembered Weld

"They had two Russian runners and a Japanese runner in the race that year, it was a very special event.

"I was very proud of my father that he would be the first Irish trainer to do it."

Surely Charlie Weld, who died in 1973 before any of his son's major international wins, would have been proud of his son's achievements.

Dermot Weld was the first northern hemisphere trainer to win the Melbourne Cup and the first European to win a leg of the Triple Crown among a whole host of other top-level international victories.

The apple didn't fall far from the tree.


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Dermot Weld Flat Racing Friday Night Racing LICW Leopardstown Leopardstown Racecourse Longines Irish Champions Weekend Melbourne Cup The Curragh

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