Bolger's Leather aiming for stardom
Trading Leather attempts to come out of his stablemate Dawn Approach's shadow in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The Teofilo colt has held second billing behind his fellow Jim Bolger inmate, who has tended to hog the headlines throughout their racing careers so far. However, Trading Leather justified the regard in which Bolger holds him when winning the Irish Derby and the Coolcullen handler is looking forward to the summer showpiece sponsored by Betfair.
"He's in good shape and we're looking forward to it. At the beginning of the year I was regarding him as my Derby horse and I got side-tracked a little bit with Dawn Approach going to Epsom," Bolger told At The Races.
"We ran him in the Dante at York. We were happy with his run and I didn't have another mile horse so we ran him in the Irish 2000 Guineas. We were happy with his run there (third).
"Then he won the Silver Stakes over a mile and a quarter. He seemed to win that very well so we thought he'd get the mile and a half and get it well. I was giving him a good chance before the race and he didn't let us down.
"Mentally he's very good. He's a bit edgy going down to the start after Kevin (Manning) gets on him but when he gets there he's fine and he settles well in his races. We'd like nice pace for him and hopefully we'll get that. After that I don't really have any worries about him."
Bolger's only previous King George triumph came back in 1992 with another Irish Derby hero St Jovite.
Jockey Johnny Murtagh, on the other hand, goes for a fourth success in this prestigious contest after wins on Alamshar, Dylan Thomas and Duke Of Marmalade when he gets the leg up on Novellist for German trainer Andreas Wohler.
"He's a typical German horse - tough, stays well, a good trainer. I'm looking forward to it. It's a nice spare ride to get. The King George is a huge race. I've won it before and I'd like to win it again," said Murtagh.
"He beat the favourite Cirrus Des Aigles last time and I'm hoping he can again. If he does he should be fighting out the finish as it's a wide-open race now with St Nicholas Abbey out."
Wohler added: "Obviously he has improved this season but this is going to be a tougher race again, the toughest race he's ever had and he'll need to improve even more."
Ed Dunlop accepts Red Cadeaux is an outsider, but stresses that his admirable globetrotter is no forlorn hope.
"If the rain comes it will be interesting," said the Newmarket trainer.
"Forget Singapore and forget Royal Ascot. The ground was too fast and the trip was too sharp. Frankie Dettori was under major instructions if he couldn't get involved not to beat the horse up.
"He's not there just to make up the numbers but I understand why he's the outsider. He seems in very good form. It will probably be his last race in Europe before he goes on his world trip again at the end of the season."