Weld at ease with Derby ground

  • Last Updated: May 27 2014, 15:19 BST

Ground conditions at Epsom for the Investec Derby on Saturday week seem unlikely to trouble Fascinating Rock.

Fascinating Rock: Derby hopeful
Fascinating Rock: Derby hopeful

The Dermot Weld-trained colt has enjoyed a highly progressive three-year-old campaign to date, most recently winning the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown.

The son of burgeoning Australian sire Fastnet Rock was promoted to first in the Group Three event, having originally been a head down on John Oxx's Ebanoran, suffering interference in the process.

Two of his four career wins have been on ground officially soft to heavy, 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."