The Irish National Stud are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Rite of Passage.

The Irish National Stud are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Rite of Passage.

In 2015 Rite of Passage took up residence among his fellow Living Legends at the Irish National Stud following a stellar racing career. He was placed in two consecutive Cheltenham festivals in the Grade 1 Weatherby’s Champion Bumper and the Grade 1 Neptune Novice Hurdle. It was his pivot to flat racing that was to prove his crowning glory in winning the 2010 Ascot Gold Cup. On the flat he won 4 of his 5 starts giving a career total of 8 wins under both codes.

Bred by the famed Newsells Park Stud he was purchased as a yearling by his trainer, Dermot Weld, for whom Rite of Passage was a special horse among his pantheon of global stars. “Rite of Passage was the Champion Stayer the year he won the Ascot Gold cup, in a record time of 4 minutes 16.92 seconds. He got a brilliant ride from Pat Smullen and came back two years later to win the Long-Distance cup on Champion’s Weekend. He was difficult to keep sound, but he was an extremely talented and courageous racehorse. His performance in the Gold Cup was one of the best for many decades.

He had a wonderful retirement in the National Stud, he looked magnificent and his fabulous care is a great credit to the team at the National Stud. When I went to see him recently, he came straight over to me and reminded me of what an outstanding individual he was.”

For his owner Dr Ronan Lambe, Rite of Passage was the horse of a lifetime. “Rite of passage was a wonderful horse to own, winning the Cold Cup at Royal Ascot was a very special day. And to come back and win on Champion’s Weekend was another great achievement. I appreciate the excellent care he received in the National Stud and a great credit must go to them.”

INS CEO Cathal Beale said, “Coming on the back of the recent loss of Kicking King it is a sad day to report the passing of Rite of Passage. He was a lovely gentle horse who lived out his days receiving the greatest of care from all the team here. I would like to thank his connections for entrusting him to us and pay special tribute once again to Leona Harmon who cares for all our horses with such great affection. He will be deeply missed by all of us.”


rite of passage
17.06.2010, Royal Ascot, GB, Rite of Passage with Pat Smullen up after they won the Gold Cup. Photo FRANK SORGE/


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Irish National Stud & Gardens,
Brallistown Little, Tully, Co. Kildare,
R51 KX25, Ireland

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