Fascinating ride for Dettori in Champion Stakes

Frankie Dettori has been booked by Dermot Weld to ride Fascinating Rock in the Qipco Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday (live, on RTÉ2 from 4.40pm).

The opportunity came up as Weld's stable jockey Pat Smullen has opted to partner Harzand on whom he won both the English and Irish Derbies this summer.

It will be the first time Smullen has not been aboard Fascinating Rock, having been in the saddle in all his previous 15 races that has yielding two Group Ones among eight victories.

"It's a good ride for a very good trainer. It's smashing and we're lucky to have him," said Dettori's agent, Ray Cochrane.

"Frankie's not ridden for Mr Weld in the time I've been doing his rides."

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Weld has yet to win the Irish Champion Stakes while Dettori has his name on that particular roll of honour six times, including last year on Golden Horn.

"With Pat Smullen staying loyal to Harzand, Frankie was the obvious choice. He is coming to Leopardstown anyway to ride in the Matron Stakes," the Curragh handler told www.theirishfield.ie.

"The intention is to run the two of them and they both have pacemakers as well, so we expect to have four runners in the race.

"There is some rain forecast for Friday which should leave the track spot on. As it stands they both run."
Fascinating Rock is not the only good ride Dettori has on Irish Champions Weekend.

"He rides Persuasive for John (Gosden) in the Matron Stakes and then on Sunday he rides Mehmas in the National Stakes and Diploma for Sir Michael Stoute in the Group Two Blandford Stakes," said Cochrane.

"We're doing all right with four nice rides at the minute."

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