Rock ready to roll

John Oxx reports Saddler’s Rock to be in top condition ahead of the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot on Thursday week.

The Currabeg trainer was pleased he decided no to run his classy stayer in the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown on Friday even though it means going for Group One honours without the benefit of a prep run.

However, Saddler’s Rock, who was third in the Ascot showpiece 12 months ago, did at least run twice in Dubai in March.

“He’s in good form. He got off to a great start to the year with six weeks in Dubai. He loves the sunshine and the ground. He doesn’t like working when it’s soft,” Oxx told At The Races.

“He was in great shape over there but in the race the saddle slipped which was a disaster as he was in the form of his life.

“He’s been in good shape since. We didn’t run him in the Saval Beg on Friday. It was just as well as it was a gruelling race with a fast pace, a hot day and 13 days before the Gold Cup so it might not just have been an ideal prep for him so I’m pleased he didn’t run.

“We have to go there now without a recent run. Hopefully it will work out and he will run well. There was no pace and a sprint finish at Ascot last year.

“He’s going well this year and is in better shape all round, so I’m hopeful he’s going to have a good summer.”

* Ralph Beckett is still leaning towards the Darley Irish Oaks for his Epsom heroine Talent though a final decision has yet to be made.

Talent led home a one-two for the Kimpton trainer in the Investec Oaks with stablemate Secret Gesture beaten three and three-quarter lengths in second place.

Beckett reports the Irish equivalent at the Curragh on July 21 to be under consideration for both fillies.

“Talent is likely to go for the Irish Oaks, all being well, but with Secret Gesture it’s still under discussion,” he said. The three options would be Ireland, Germany and the Nassau at Goodwood.

“We don’t have to decide yet and it will be interesting to see what happens in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot.”

* Jockey Michael Murphy was taken to Queen’s Medical Centre as a precaution after he fell from Martinas Delight at Nottingham yesterday.

The 5lb claimer was unshipped from the Alan Jarvis-trained three-year-old when his mount clipped heels with the William Buick-ridden Close At Hand in the Maiden Fillies’ Stakes.

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