Pat Smullen looking forward to partnering Fascinating Rock at Leopardstown
Pat Smullen is looking forward to partnering one-time Classic contender Fascinating Rock on his seasonal reappearance in the Heritage Stakes at Leopardstown on Wednesday.
After winning the Ballysax Stakes and the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial in the early part of last season, the Dermot Weld-trained colt was disappointing in both the Investec Derby at Epsom and the Irish Derby at the Curragh in June.
He has not been seen in competitive action since the latter of those defeats and drops down half a mile in distance for his comeback run in this Listed event.
The formidable Smullen-Weld combination have kicked off the new season in sensational form, combining for eight winners at Gowran Park and Leopardstown last weekend.
Smullen said: "Fascinating Rock seems in good form and I think this is a good starting point for the year for him.
"He's had a good, long break and seems well in himself at home.
"Having been off a good while, I'm sure he'll improve for the run, but he's in good form and hopefully he'll go there and run a nice race.
"The horses are in tremendous form at the moment, so hopefully that continues.
"I don't think coming back in trip will by any bother to him."
Fascinating Rock must concede weight to six opponents on his return, including the talented Chopin, who makes his debut for Ger Lyons.
The five-year-old has been off the track since finishing fourth in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last May.
David Redvers, racing manager for owners Qatar Racing, said: "He looks a very nice horse and Ger has got on well with him.
"Ger's horses have just been needing a run, so we're expecting a promising run from him tomorrow, rather than expecting him to come back with a trophy.
"He's been off a long time, but he has been moving really well and time will tell how he matches up."
Joseph Murphy's stable star Euphrasia also makes her first start of 2015, while Aidan O'Brien relies on Cougar Mountain.
Seanie, Alive Alive Oh and Some Spirit complete the line-up.