Free Eagle is set to make his seasonal bow in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh on May 24.
The four-year-old looked set to be a leading player in the last season’s Classics after winning on his racecourse debut and chasing home Australia in two juvenile starts in 2013.
However, the High Chaparral colt suffered a setback that kept him off the track until last September, when he trounced some fair rivals by upwards of seven lengths in a Leopardstown Group Three.
Weld felt he merited a crack at the highest level and he was hardly disgraced in finishing third to Noble Mission in the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October.
Free Eagle has yet to run over further than 10 furlongs but Weld believes he should be able to shine over a mile and a half in time, with the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a long-term target.
“I’m very pleased with him, he’s training nicely,” said Weld.
“He’s very likely to go straight to the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh without a prep race and we’ll take it from there.
“In terms of trip, I’d be reasonably confident that he’ll be fully effective over a mile and a half as the season progresses.
“His main programme will all be in the second half of the year, with the Irish Champion Stakes and the Arc being the big aims.
“He’d compare very well with any top-class horse I’ve had. He’s a very good colt.”
Shane Kelly has lodged an appeal against a 10-day ban imposed by the Wolverhampton stewards on Monday.
Kelly was found to have failed to take all reasonable and permissible measures to obtain the best possible placing aboard eventual third Wickhambrook in the Ladbrokes Handicap at Dunstall Park.
Trainer Mike Murphy’s representative was reported to be happy with the ride, but the stewards felt Kelly had not given his best and banned him from April 6-11 and 13-16. The British Horseracing Authority tweeted: “Shane Kelly has appealed the Wolverhampton stewards’ finding on 23 March that he was in breach of Rule (B)59.4 (1/2)
“Kelly was suspended for 10 days after the incident at Wolverhampton on March 23. Date of hearing to be confirmed.”
John Quinn has decided against giving Classic hopeful The Wow Signal a racecourse gallop at Wetherby today.
The North Yorkshire trainer feels his Coventry Stakes and Prix Morny winner does not need to go to the West Yorkshire track as he is pleased with the way the colt is progressing.