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Contender - Refuse To Bend: Weld says his Derby prospect does not lack pace

Tony O'Hehir

DERMOT WELD is confident his leading Vodafone Derby hope Refuse To Bend has the pace necessary to deliver a big performance in today's Sagitta 2,000 Guineas.

Weld has handled the winners of

major races on four continents,

including two Melbourne Cups and a Belmont Stakes, in his hugely successful 31-year training career.

Yet only one British Classic - the Oaks with Blue Wind - has come his way and he believes Refuse To Bend is a serious contender to bridge that 22-year gap in today's showpiece.

Weld has Epsom aspirations for the Moyglare Stud homebred, and said: "Because of his pedigree I've always thought the Derby trip may bring out the best in him. That said, he was a Group 1 winner over seven furlongs last year and he's a colt with plenty of speed.

"He shows a lot of pace in his work at home over shorter distances. His win in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas

trial was a very good effort. He quickened well, the time was good and he was carrying a 7lb penalty. It's

encouraging that the fourth in that race [France] has come out and advertised the form by winning a Group race."

Encouraged by rain at Newmarket on Thursday night and again yesterday, Weld added: "Like most horses by Sadler's Wells, Refuse To Bend likes some cut in the ground, so conditions should be suitable for him.

"My initial reaction to the draw was that I'd have preferred him to be on the stands' side but, as most of the top horses in the betting are drawn near him on the far side, number 18 shouldn't be a disadvantage. I'm very happy with the horse. He has completed a perfect preparation and I expect him to run a very good race."

Pat Smullen, twice the Irish champion, is bidding for a first British Classic on Refuse To Bend, who achieved his Group 1 success in the National Stakes at The Curragh in September, a race won in the past by subsequent 2,000 Guineas winners Sir Ivor, Tap On Wood, El Gran Senor and, most recently, King Of Kings.


William Hill: 7-2 Alamshar, 5 Brian Boru, 8 Refuse To Bend, 10 Hold That Tiger, 16 Alberto Giacometti,

Muqbil, New South Wales, 20 bar.


Refuse To Bend: should benefit from some cut in the ground at Newmarket
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:May 3, 2003
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