Weld aiming to Rock Australia
Dermot Weld is hoping Fascinating Rock will be better suited by the Curragh track in Saturday's Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby than he was by the contours of Epsom.
Winner of a Leopardstown maiden on the first day of the season, he followed up in the Ballysax Stakes and was awarded the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial by the Leopardstown stewards.
He managed only eighth place in the Investec Derby on his first attempt at 12 furlongs, but rather than using the trip as an excuse for the son of Fastnet Rock, Weld believes it was the ups and downs of Epsom that did not suit.
"Fascinating Rock has done really well since Epsom," said the trainer.
"The horse just didn't handle the track that day and we expect a better showing from him on Saturday."
John Oxx ran Ebanoran at Epsom but felt he failed to get home over the trip so he turns to Ponfeigh, who has two wins over a mile to his name this season.
"Ponfeigh has had two quick runs but he is in good order and will take his chance in Saturday's race," said Oxx.
"We have always liked this horse and he has a nice turn of foot. Obviously the step up in grade and trip is unknown territory for him but, on form, he is entitled to take his chance."
The race obviously revolves around Epsom winner Australia, who is one of seven possibles for Aidan O'Brien. He is likely to be a very warm order to emulate his former stablemate Camelot, who completed the Classic double two years ago.
While O'Brien will be hoping the rain stays away for his new star, connections of Derby runner-up Kingston Hill will be hoping for rain to enable a rematch to take place.
"We're looking at the weather. They are saying they could get up to 15 millimetres of rain and if that was the case, we'd love to run if we got good ground or easier," said David Eustace, assistant to trainer Roger Varian.
As well as Australia, O'Brien could run Geoffrey Chaucer, who went wrong at Epsom, Kingfisher, Mekong River, Orchestra, Table Rock and War Command, who was a fast-finishing fourth over a mile in the St James's Palace Stakes last week.
Godolphin's True Story, one place in front of Fascinating Rock at Epsom, could also renew rivalry.
Bookmakers Racebets have only seen support for one horse since the market opened.
"Australia has been the only horse for money in the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby. From 4-6 two weeks ago, he has shortened to 4-7, 1-2, 4-9 and into 1-3 this morning," said spokesman Joseph Burke.
"Kingston Hill on the other hand has drifted from an opening show of 5-2 all the way out to 4-1 and is currently friendless in what is effectively a one-horse book."
Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby, Racebets bet: 1-3 Australia, 4-1 Kingston Hill, 13-2 True Story, 8-1 Geoffrey Chaucer, 10-1 Fascinating Rock, Ponfeigh, 12-1 War Command, 20-1 bar.
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