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Softening Epsom Ground No Worry for Weld
28/05/14

Andrew Cooper, clerk of the course at Epsom, walked the Surrey track on Tuesday (May 27) and reported that there had been 36mm of rain since Thursday and was calling the going "Good to Soft, Soft in places".

Fascinating Rock
© Caroline Norris
Fascinating Rock

The easing ground conditions are unlikely to phase the Dermot Weld's Investec Derby hope Fascinating Rock, having enjoyed a highly progressive three-year-old campaign to date, most recently winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

Fascinating Rock, a son of Australian sire Fastnet Rock, had the stewards to thank for promotion to first place in the Group Three event, having originally finished a head behind John Oxx's Ebanoran, suffering interference in the process.

Two of the colt's four wins so far have been on soft to heavy ground, and the other two have been on soft, as it was at Leopardstown.

Weld told the Irish Times: "It was a very good renewal of the Derrinstown, the best renewal in a number of years. There was depth and strength to it and I think it was the best of the Derby trials, outside of the Classics.

"It might have been a Group Three but it ran like a Group Two. I've been pleased with the horse since and everything is progressing nicely.

"At this time of year, with the climate we have in these islands, ground conditions can change so rapidly but I think Fascinating Rock is comfortable on any kind of ground bar extremes.

"He doesn't want it very firm and he doesn't want it very heavy. Apart from that I think he should be fine."

Fascinating Rock is a best-priced 14-1 chance for the premier Classic.

Leading the ante-post markets is the Aidan O'Brien-trained Australia, who is odds-on after running a fine race to be third in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Weld added: "I know it will be a mile and a half at Epsom but the favourite is bred to get it and he does look a stand-out."

The Jonathan Pease-trained Karakontie go for the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly instead of the Investec Derby.

Connections seriously considered a trip to Epsom, but have decided to stay on home soil for to bid for the French Classic double over a mile and a quarter.

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