Dermot Weld is not only one of Ireland’s greatest trainers, with an extraordinary tally of more than 4,200 winners, but he is also one of the most travelled.
The son of the late former trainer Charles Weld has been champion trainer in Ireland 21 times and boasts big-race winners on four continents. But perhaps his proudest moment came in 2016 when he saddled Harzand to win the Investec Derby, having been trying to win the race since first taking out a licence 44 years earlier.
The colt overcame a late injury scare before taking the honours under the late Pat Smullen, who Weld enjoyed a long and fruitful association with.
Weld is a specialist at longer distance Flat races and has won every Irish Classic, including a ninth St Leger in 2020 with Search For A Song. The remarkable Vinnie Roe also won it a record four times in succession for him.
His British trophy cabinet includes the 2000 Guineas, Oaks, the Gold Cup in 2010 with Rite Of Passage and, over fences, the Triumph Hurdle at Cheltenham.
A regular winner in the United States, he is the only European trainer to win a leg of the American Triple Crown, with Go And Go in the 1990 Belmont Stakes. He was also the first European to train the winner of Australia’s prestigious Melbourne Cup with Vintage Crop in 1993. For good measure, he won it a second time with Media Puzzle in 2003.
His base at Rosewell House is yards from the entrance of the Curragh racecourse. But it is at Ballybrit, home of the Galway Races week-long festival, where his domination become legendary – to the point that bookmakers Paddy Power launched a tongue-in-cheek campaign to rename the event the ‘Dermot Weld Retirement Fund Races’.
Weld, born in 1948, is a qualified vet and former jockey.
His first Classic came with Blue Wind in the 1981 Oaks in England, the same horse claiming the Irish equivalent immediately afterwards. His 3,000th winner came in 2005 with the 4,0000th achieved in 2016.
His challengers at QIPCO British Champions Day are also worth a second look. He has not had many runners but has twice won the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup (Rite Of Passage and Forgotten Rules), the QIPCO British Champions Fillies And Mares Stakes (Sapphire) plus QIPCO Champion Stakes (Fascinating Rock).
In 2021, his Search For A Song was runner-up in the Long Distance Cup.