Fascinating Rock (noseband) got the better of Found at AscotPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Found and Fascinating Rock in Curragh battle
TRAINER Aidan O'Brien saddled the first three home in the 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket on Sunday, and he turns to another star filly on Monday afternoon in the shape of Found, who runs against Fascinating Rock in a mouth-watering renewal of the Group 3 Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh.
Fascinating Rock and Found fought out the finish of the Champion Stakes at Ascot last October, with the former coming out on top, and they step back inside the ropes today to trade blows in what is the highest-quality contest of the Irish Flat season so far.
Both horses ran on this card 12 months ago. Fascinating Rock won this race in decisive fashion, fending off Parish Hall inside the final furlong to score comfortably. It was just the beginning of what proved to be a superb season for the son of Fastnet Rock.
Found, in contrast, was only second to 25-1 chance Iveagh Gardens in the Athasi Stakes but, just like Fascinating Rock, it was the start of a stunning season. She arrives back here 12 months on as the Breeders’ Cup Turf champion but, most importantly, the cobwebs have been blown away by a satisfactory comeback in the Alleged Stakes last month.
Found will have improved for her comeback run according to O’Brien, but the plan is to be cherry ripe for the Tattersalls Gold Cup at this course later this month.
O’Brien said: “We think she has come on since her first run of the season. We’re happy with her and we think she’ll improve again from this race.
“The plan is to go back to the Curragh for the Tattersalls Gold Cup if all goes well in this.”
First time back
The score is one-nil to Fascinating Rock but Dermot Weld feels that Found could equalise today as she has the advantage of a run under her belt.
“Fascinating Rock is in great form and I’m thrilled with him,” said Weld. “Found does have the advantage of a run, which is a big plus for her, and Fascinating Rock usually takes a run to come to himself. I’m very happy with how he is coming along though.”
Weld is also represented by the ex-Sir Mark Prescott-trained The Steward, who will have his first run for the trainer, while the six-runner field is completed by Altesse, Hot Sauce and Success Days.
Fascinating Rock heads the market at 11-10, while Found is a best price of 13-8. It is 9-1 bar the pair.
The ground at the Curragh is soft on the straight course and yielding on the round course following 8mm of overnight rain.