Saturday 21 April 2018

'Rock' can get stronger, insists Weld

Under Pat Smullen (pictured) Fascinating Rock gave an outstanding performance to win at Ascot on Saturday
Under Pat Smullen (pictured) Fascinating Rock gave an outstanding performance to win at Ascot on Saturday

Thomas Kelly

Dermot Weld believes his Champion Stakes hero Fascinating Rock could be an even better horse as a five-year-old next season.

The son of Fastnet Rock failed to run up to expectations when well fancied for both the Epsom Derby and the Irish equivalent last year, but has raised his game significantly this term.

Under the in-form Pat Smullen (right), the colt proved his worth at the highest level when beating a top-class field at Ascot on Saturday and his trainer is looking forward to seeing what he can achieve in 2016.

"Pat (Smullen) gave him a brilliant ride, the horse was in great order and he had the ground he likes," said Weld (right). "It was a really good Group One, they went a cracking gallop all the way and the best horses fought it out.

"He's a huge horse; he's a much better horse now than he was as a three-year-old and he's a horse to look forward to for the future. I've been lucky enough to have had a number of five-year-olds who got better with age and I see no reason why he won't - he's the classic stayer with speed."

There was another big-race Irish success on foreign shores Sunday evening when David Wachman's Curvy recorded her first success at the highest level as she took the EP Taylor Stakes at Woodbine in Canada.

The daughter of Galileo has been a revelation this season - graduating from winning two handicaps at Navan to landing Group races at the Curragh and Royal Ascot before finishing third in the Irish Oaks.

Settled towards the rear by Ryan Moore, she made headway through the field at the top of the home straight and stayed on well after hitting the front a furlong out to score by a length and half. The Willie McCreery-trained Devonshire had little luck in running and finished a respectable seventh.

Moore later doubled up aboard Cannock Chase in the Grade 1 Canadian International.

Meanwhile, Aidan O'Brien is responsible for five of the 10 juveniles confirmed for Saturday's Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

The master of Ballydoyle has saddled seven previous winners of the end-of-season Group One, with High Chaparral (2001), St Nicholas Abbey (2009) and Camelot (2011) among those on the roll of honour.

This year's potential runners include Beresford Stakes scorer Port Douglas, impressive Curragh maiden winner Black Sea and Royal Lodge runner-up Deauville. Johannes Vermeer and Shogun, fourth and sixth respectively in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp complete the squad.

The home team is headed by John Gosden's unbeaten colt Foundation, which was three-quarters of a length ahead of Deauville in the Royal Lodge in late September.

Mengli Khan is an interesting contender for Hugo Palmer after impressing on his second start at Nottingham a fortnight ago. Peter Chapple-Hyam, who won the Racing Post Trophy with subsequent Derby hero Authorized in 2006, could run Marcel, not seen since scoring at Newcastle in late August.

O'Brien is likely to be among the winners today at Gowran Park, where he kicks off the afternoon with Kellstorm, a brother to Irish Leger winner Order Of St George, which can make a winning debut in the opening juvenile contest over a mile.

Irish Independent

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