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Bolger aims for first

TOMORROW, three Irish-based trainers will bid to see Doncaster's Racing Post Trophy won by an Irish-trained colt for the fourth consecutive year as Aidan O'Brien, Jim Bolger and Andy Oliver attempt to emulate the achievements of St Nicholas Abbey, Casamento and Camelot respectively.

O'Brien will in fact be looking for his seventh win in the race if he can score for a third time in four years, while just like Michael Halford in 2010, Oliver will be trying to land a first win at Group One level by taking the mile contest.

Jim Bolger is no stranger to Group One glory, nor is he any stranger to mapping out a fruitful route for a promising juvenile, and if Trading Leather can build on his two wins already he would then be giving Bolger a first victory in this particular race.

The Dewhurst Stakes that the Kilkenny-based trainer won with Dawn Approach earlier in the month has been a much happier and more tested hunting ground for the trainer compared to the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

In the years of Irish rule since 2009, Bolger has only had one runner in the race, that being Zip Top, who finished second to Camelot last year.

In fact, Zip Top has been Bolger's only runner in the race in the last 10 years, so it would definitely be wrong to suggest it hasn't been a lucky race for him, and the complete opposite could be argued as Zip Top was second to a subsequent three-time Classic winner.

Trading Leather currently sits as second favourite behind the heavily supported Ballydoyle-supplemented runner Kingsbarns for tomorrow's feature. But an upset could be on the cards from the horse who followed home highly regarded Battle Of Marengo in listed company on his debut. Trading Leather is a son of Bolger's leading juvenile Teofilo and after Kevin Manning guided him to victory in the Autumn Stakes a fortnight ago, Bolger said: "We've liked him for a long time but he's very ground-dependent. We're viewing him as a Derby horse."

Those sentiments have to be noticed by a trainer who is in a decent position to judge with the likes of Dawn Approach and even Leitir Mor to compare Trading Leather with at home.

Just seven have been declared, two of those, Birdman and Sir Patrick Moore, have virtually no chance and the rest will provide us with an interesting spectacle.

The money for Kingsbarns has to be respected, as those in the know got it right when he opened his account just over two weeks ago at Navan.

He follows a slightly similar path to Camelot, who also came into the race on the back of just one previous run, although Camelot had won his maiden in August at the Curragh.

We have written previously on these pages how a first Group One celebration for Andy Oliver isn't too far away, but it might just have to be put on ice for a little while longer as although a big race is expected from First Cornerstone, others are probably just preferred on this occasion.

It certainly hasn't been a bad year for Coolcullen master Bolger when he has decided to make the journey across water. His raids have seen him yield £313,548.25 in prize money for his troubles.

I expect an extra £122,494 to be added to that shortly after three bells tomorrow afternoon.