Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Rock rolls to Ballysax success

Fascinating Rock, left, came out on top in the the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes
Fascinating Rock, left, came out on top in the the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes

Fascinating Rock produced a stylish effort to take the P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes at Navan.

The renowned Derby trial saw an interesting field assembled, with Stirabout taking them along before All Set To Go edged to the front at the three-furlong marker.

Andrew Oliver's charge still held a narrow advantage a quarter of a mile from home, but the Dermot Weld-trained Fascinating Rock (5-2) was moving very powerfully in the hands of Pat Smullen and put matters to bed once assuming control in the final furlong, holding the running-on 7-4 favourite Answered by two and a half lengths.

The winner was added to the Investec Derby field at a cost of £8,000 this week, and Kris Weld, son of the winning trainer, said: "He did it very well. It came up quite quickly after he won nicely at Leopardstown a couple of weeks ago, but it was the obvious race to come for and it's lovely to win it again.

"He travelled very well and looked the way a winner a long way from home

"There's no immediate plans for him, but he's had two quick runs so he'll have a break and we'll freshen him up.

"He was entered in the Derby during the week but we'll take it one step at a time with him and he's a lovely horse for the future.

"He's a big powerful horse and you'd like to think there's more improvement in him as he fills into his frame.

"Better ground shouldn't be a problem."

Dazzling (5-1) was an all-the-way winner of the Irish Stallion Farms E.B.F. Salsabil Stakes

Winner of a maiden from her three starts last season, the Aidan O'Brien-trained daughter of Galileo found plenty for pressure to beat Cristal Fashion by a length and three-quarters, with the winner's stablemate Terrific just a nose further back in third.

O'Brien said: "I'm delighted. She's a lovely staying filly and she'll get further.

"She looks an Oaks filly and she'll have a run between now and then somewhere.

"She should get a mile and a half I would imagine.

"That was her first run and she should come on from it.

"I was delighted with the third filly (Terrific) also."

Palace made it a double for the O'Brien team with a taking performance in the 20 Family Ticket For May 18th Family Day Fillies Maiden, coming forward markedly from her debut fourth at Leopardstown at the beginning of this month.

The 4-6 favourite led over a furlong out and stayed on to keep Gorteo at bay by four and three-quarter lengths.

O'Brien, who also bred the winner, said: "She's a nice filly and I'm delighted with her.

"We'll have to see whether she runs again now before the Irish Guineas.

"She's coming forward lovely. She's very smart and we always thought she was.

"The Fastnet Rocks want really good ground. It's Australian breeding and they want fast ground. They have big engines.

"She was our best filly last year but she met with a setback and didn't get to run."

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