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Bolger has the best Approach

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Dawn Approach ridden by jockey Kevin Manning wins the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes during the 2000 Guineas Day of the QIPCO Festival at Newmarket. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.

Dawn Approach ridden by jockey Kevin Manning wins the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes during the 2000 Guineas Day of the QIPCO Festival at Newmarket. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.

Dawn Approach ridden by jockey Kevin Manning wins the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes during the 2000 Guineas Day of the QIPCO Festival at Newmarket. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire.

FOR the past fortnight a dark cloud, full of uncertainties, had hovered over Sheikh Mohammed and his Godolphin outfit.

On Saturday afternoon, dark clouds full of rain hovered over Newmarket before the start of the 2000 Guineas for which Godolphin's Dawn Approach was the favourite.

The dark cloud hanging over Sheikh Mohammed didn't prevent him from attending. Nor did the other dark cloud that provided an unpleasant downpour just before the race deter Dawn Approach from going about his business and giving trainer Jim Bolger a first win in the race and Sheikh Mohammed a very welcome distraction.

Sheikh Mohammed has had a number of two-year-old runners in Ireland for different trainers over the past few years. He has also bought some of our more promising juveniles and the common trend had been to offload them to one of his two Godolphin yards, either Saeed Bin Suroor or Mahmood Al Zarooni.

Last season, he bucked the trend though. After Dawn Approach won at Royal Ascot, a deal was done, and not until the horse had won twice in the famous blue of Godolphin did we learn one of the most important factors of that deal – Dawn Approach would be staying with Jim Bolger.

We will never again see the likes of Bolger, and it is a real shame that both the masterfulness and elegance at which he carries out his profession, or his overall achievements in life, will never be truly appreciated by those outside horseracing.

Sheikh Mohammed wasn't for pressing on the recent scandal surrounding Al Zarooni or how it was handled by the BHA, but Bolger, when questioned, put up a strong defence for his owner. It was a sidebar that Bolger wouldn't have been overly comfortable discussing, but again, his few words were deafening.

And Bolger is a man of very few words. Most of the few have a witty tone to them and all are worth listening to. On Saturday, he delivered an assessment that doubled up as an unforgiving warning to anyone else with an above average three-year-old. "I'm sure he can only improve," Bolger suggested. "That is his first time on a racecourse this year."

 

Talent

Much has been made of Dawn Approach's laid-back attitude, a trait that was never really evident in his father New Approach, but it is that trait along with pure raw ability and talent that could be the key to overcoming a doubt on the dam's side to get the Epsom Derby trip of a mile and a half.

"Sheikh Mohammed and myself said we would sleep on it," Bolger revealed when asked about the possibility of running in the Epsom Derby. "If he wants to go, I'd be very happy to."

It is clear from those comments that Bolger is keen to go to Epsom and get Dawn Approach to emulate his sire New Approach, and Sheikh Mohammed has already made one very good call in leaving the colt with Bolger as a three-year-old and the second big call he has to make now follows. The best way to solve it ... leave it to Jim Bolger, he's not often wrong.


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