Fascinating Rock to land emotional Group Three success for Dermot Weld

The Curragh trainer’s mother, Marguerite, sadly died yesterday, on the same day as Johnny Harrington

The Tom Hogan-trained Gordon Lord Byron, who lines up for the Group One TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney this morning.

The Tom Hogan-trained Gordon Lord Byron, who lines up for the Group One TJ Smith Stakes in Sydney this morning.


A day that kicks-off with the remarkable Gordon Lord Byron pursuing more Group One glory in Australia will later see an Irish attempt at history in the Scottish Grand National at Ayr and also includes a Classic trial one-off at Navan in which Fascinating Rock can provide Dermot Weld with an emotional Group Three success.

A late Easter in 2014 has resulted in the PW McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes getting switched to Navan from Leopardstown and eight horses are scheduled to line up in a race that kicked-off memorable Classic campaigns in the past for some of racing’s biggest stars such as Galileo, High Chaparral and Sinndar.

Weld, whose mother Marguerite sadly died yesterday, has a prime Derby candidate already in Free Eagle but Fascinating Rock was also put into the Epsom Classic during the week at a cost of nearly €10,000. That move came on the back of a maiden victory at Leopardstown and indicates the regard with which the colt is held.

Carlo Bugati flies the Ballydoyle flag while Jim Bolger’s Answered won his own maiden at the Curragh in impressive style. However, the Weld team are in flying form at present and the move to put Fascinating Rock into the Derby looks a concrete indication of his rapid progression.

Weld’s I’m Yours is another with Classic entries and she can be a major player in the Listed Salsabil Stakes, a race for which Jessica Harrington, whose husband Johnny sadly died yesterday, has declared Ode To Psyche.

Aidan O’Brien is triple-handed in this but Weld’s three-year-olds look a particularly good crop and he should know where he stands with the apparent Ballydoyle number one hope Dazzling on a line through Flying Jib.

Flat racing’s global reach is emphasised by Gordon Lord Byron lining up for the six-furlong TJ Smith Stakes at Sydney’s Randwick track which is worth over €1 million to the winner.

Nenagh-based Tom Hogan has already hit the top-flight jackpot during his stable star’s Australian expedition and Gordon Lord Byron’s second start is due at 6.50 this morning.

Much closer to home, Larne-based Stuart Crawford sends Yes Tom for today’s Scottish Grand National.

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