Bolger off to a flier as Turret rocks Doncaster
Turret Rocks got Jim Bolger's weekend off to a perfect start yesterday when landing the May Hill Stakes at Doncaster.
The daugher of Fastnet Rock earned a 25/1 quote for next year's Epsom Oaks after taking the Group Two contest in style.
Marenko has made a bold bid from the front but she could not hold the Coolcullen raider (7/2), which got up by three-parts of a length under a determined drive from Kevin Manning.
Bolger - who has high hopes with fancied entries on both days of Champions Weekend at Leopardstown and the Curragh - said afterwards that he expects Turret Rocks to develop into an Oaks filly next year.
"She's a mile-a-half filly for next year," said the Coolcullen maestro. "I think she gets most of the stamina from the dam's side and she comes from a good family that includes Goldikova. It's a staying pedigree."
There were two Willie Mullins' raiders in the day's feature, the Doncaster Cup, and it was his dual-purpose performer Clondaw Warrior which went close to claiming another big prize.
Owned by a syndicate that includes the wife of champion jump-jockey Ruby Walsh, Clondaw Warrior turned in an admirable effort but had to play second fiddle to Pallasator which took the spoils by three-parts of a length for trainer Mark Prescott and jockey Andrea Atzeni.
Atzeni is back on Town Moor today and will travel in expectation as he has the leg-up on lively St Leger outsider Simple Verse which could well give owners Qatar Racing a first English Classic and become the first filly to win the race since User Friendly in 1992.
Victory for Ralph Beckett's charge would add weight to the argument, formulated at York, that as good as this year's three-year-old colts are, the fillies might be better.
Beckett has been second in the race with Talented and third with Look Here, both Oaks-winning fillies, and while Simple Verse is not coming into the race with anything like that profile, she nevertheless has a lot going for her.
She does not mind what ground she races on, which means she will be unaffected by how much of the 8-15mm of rain that is predicted actually falls on Doncaster this morning; she is a certain stayer, having already won over the trip at Goodwood; she has had a faultless preparation and seems to be von an upward curve.
On her Lily Langtry win at Goodwood, when she was the only three-year-old in the field, she will certainly be doing her best work at the finish and if, as expected, Fields Of Athenry sets a decent gallop, all the better. "She did a very good bit of work a fortnight ago," said Beckett. "She's in good form and I'm very happy with her."
William Haggas has had a tremendous year with Storm The Stars, a difficult customer at home but a model of consistency on the track.
Placed in the Epsom and Irish Derby and winner of the Voltigeur, where he beat Bondi Beach, he is not fussy about the ground and is tough. But there must be a question mark about the trip and he has had a long season, so, if Haggas can stretch it out for this one last run, it will be a great feat of training.
Aidan O'Brien's decision to keep Order Of St George at home for tomorrow's Irish St Leger at the Curragh - where soft ground looks more likely - reduces the field to seven and means his main hope is Bondi Beach, which was only having his fourth start at York, so should be open to improvement, and has already been successful over the trip. (© Daily Telegraph, London)