Dual Melbourne Cup winning trainer Dermot Weld has had big-race winners all over the world, but few have given the Irishman more pleasure than Free Eagle in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The talented but fragile colt has had many issues with his career restricted to four races in two years.
His crowning moment came in Wednesday’s Group One race in which Australian Criterion finished fifth.
Weld is now plotting a future that could take in the Irish Champion Stakes and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
“This horse has bags of courage and is a hard horse to beat,” Weld said.
“He had a stress fracture of the tibia last year and had to miss all the Classics. We got him back for the Champion Stakes here and that was run on heavy ground.
“The plan was to start him in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, but he got a bad head cold which delayed his comeback and his work.
“Fitness was my biggest concern and I had him as good as I could have with the limited preparation he’d had.
“Today was the day, but we’ve been lucky with races like the Irish Champion Stakes and I’ve always thought the Arc would be his long-term objective.”