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Ground worries for Rock team

Sat, 25 August 2012

John Oxx is hoping for drying conditions at York to allow Saddler's Rock to be at his absolute best in the Weatherbys Insurance Lonsdale Cup.

The four-year-old marked himself as a stayer with a bright future when running out a most impressive winner of last season's Doncaster Cup and he has confirmed that impression so far this season.

He was a little unlucky when a close third in the Gold Cup at Royal Ascot and opened his account for the campaign when showing a change of gear that is so potent in staying contests in the Goodwood Cup.

The trainer said: "Everything has gone to plan since Goodwood, he's had a good preparation for York and he's in top form. He's a horse who is at his best on good to firm ground, so the weather is a bit of a concern.

"He handles softer ground - it was quite soft when he ran at Royal Ascot - so I wouldn't pull him out if the ground went soft. It's just that he has a really good turn of foot and is most effective on a faster surface. The less rain the better for him.

"We'll see how he gets on this weekend before we make any definite plans for him. The options would be the Doncaster Cup and the Irish St Leger, which are run on the same weekend."

Marcus Tregoning's 2009 Lonsdale Cup winner Askar Tau was just a length behind Saddler's Rock at Glorious Goodwood and reopposes.

The trainer said: "He's in very good form and goes there off the back of a very good run, but the ground is a concern after the rain. It's a shame because earlier in the week it looked like things were going to plan with the weather and then the rain arrived. I'm sure he'll still run a good race."

Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor has two runners in Cavalryman and Lost In The Moment, with the former most interesting having won his last two starts.

Bin Suroor told the Godolphin website: "Cavalryman has won well on his two latest starts and I was pleased with his work earlier this week. He is in good form and two miles suits him. I am hopeful of another good run."