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grounds for concern

Both Aidan O’Brien and Dermot Weld expressed their concerns about the prospect of soft ground at Epsom next week for the Investec Oaks and the Investec Derby meeting.

Epsom staged its Breakfast With The Stars’ yesterday morning at which a handful of Classic contenders familiarised themselves with the contours of the racecourse, but the trainers of two of Ireland’s leading chances are hoping for a dry week.

Weld is very keen to run recent Naas winner Tarfasha in Friday’s Oaks but he said yesterday: “Tarfasha is a very fluent moving filly and goes on top of the ground.

“A lot depends weather-wise next week. If the ground was good-to-yielding, we’d be happy, but if it came up soft, I don’t think we’d run. We’d wait for Ascot or the Irish Oaks.”

O’Brien has filled many column inches recently with quotes about his main Derby candidate Australia and while the Ballydoyle trainer didn’t suggest Australia won’t run if the ground was soft, he is hoping for an improvement.

“We look forward to next week but we wouldn’t like the ground to be soft as he’s beautiful-moving horse,” said O’Brien, who is likely to launch a four-pronged attack on the race he has won for the last two years.

“Obviously, soft ground wouldn’t be ideal, but we’ll have to wait and see and hope it’s not.”


Responding to last week’s rumours that Geoffrey Chaucer worked better than Australia, O’Brien said; “I don’t know where these (rumours) come from.

“They’ve obviously always been on different work regimes and both had different races last time.

“I didn’t see it if it was, maybe it happened, but I didn’t see it.”

O’Brien also intends to run Kingfisher and Orchestra on Saturday week, while Weld looks for a first Derby win with Fascinating Rock.