Weld plotting a Fascinating triumph in Derrinstown trial
DERMOT Weld will be hoping that the improving Fascinating Rock can continue his progression in Sunday's Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.
The Fastnet Rock colt won a Leopardstown maiden in March before following up in the Ballysax Stakes in impressive fashion and he will aim to continue Weld's fine start to the season.
Aidan O'Brien holds his usual strong hand with Geoffrey Chaucer (also engaged in the French Guineas), Mekong River – which won four of his five starts last season – along with Blue Hussar, Red Rocks Point and Iniesta.
Jim Bolger's Answered, now owned by Godolphin rather than Sheikh Mohammed, could take on Fascinating Rock again having chased him home in the Ballysax, as well as stablemate Mandatario.
The Ger Lyons-trained Obliterator, second to Godolphin's Derby hope True Story in the Feilden Stakes, is entered while John Oxx's Ebanoran, Johnny Murtagh's Altruistic and Paul Deegan's Aussie Valentine are among the 13.
Oxx's Stars So Bright, an ultra-impressive winner of her debut at Dundalk, is one of 11 entries in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial on the same card.
The daughter of Sea The Stars was unraced at two, but looked right out of the top drawer when winning at Dundalk last month.
Back in third that day was Dermot Weld's Carla Bianca, which was three-quarters of a length behind Australia on her debut and fourth in the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes on her only other start.
Oxx has also entered Harry's Princess, fourth in a similar race earlier in the season. Weld has a couple of options in Balansiya, turned over at odds-on by Bracelet on her return to action earlier in the season, and Afternoon Sunlight.
O'Brien can choose from Marvellous and Palace, although the latter is also entered in the French 1,000 Guineas.
Meanwhile, the Ballydoyle supremo has two Derby hopefuls, Carlo Bugatti and Orchestra, entered in Thursday's MBNA Chester Vase.
Aidan O'Brien has declared blinkers for Carlo Bugatti, the mount of Joseph O'Brien and fourth to Fascinating Rock in the Ballysax. Ryan Moore will ride Orchestra, second to Free Eagle on his debut and an easy maiden winner next time out.
Elsewhere, Pat Cosgrave has been cleared to return to the saddle pending his appeal to the British Horseracing Authority not to reciprocate the four-month ban handed out by the Emirates Racing Authority.
The Banbridge, Co Down native was found guilty of a blatant breach of the rule regarding improper riding which has a detrimental image to racing after his performance on Mike de Kock's Anaerobio at Meydan in March.
The jockey was found to have moved his mount off the rail in the straight to allow stablemate Vercingetorix through on the inside to win the Group One Jebel Hatta, with Anaerobio eventually third.
Cosgrave was initially banned for six months by the Dubai stewards, but that was reduced to four months following an appeal. However, Cosgrave has asked the BHA not to impose the suspension in England and will be free to ride until his appeal is heard.