FIVE years ago, Jim Bolger (pictured) was a marked man in British racing media circles, writes Niall Cronin.
His dual 2,000 Guineas runner-up New Approach had been the champion two-year-old the previous season but went down fighting to Henrythenavigator in both the English and Irish Guineas.
The colt had been left in the Epsom Derby but the trainer revealed that was a clerical error and he would be staying at home to run in the Irish equivalent. Days before the race, Bolger changed his mind, ran New Approach and won the Epsom Derby for the first time, beating Tartan Bearer by half a length.
They wanted him hung almost. How dare Bolger change his mind and therefore derail punters who had a bet in the race on the premise that New Approach wasn't running?
Bolger's unfazed manner, while most of the hacks surrounding him for a quote were in an awful tizzy, helped to concentrate attention on the important matter in all of this – just how good New Approach was as a racehorse.
The New Approach saga is well forgotten about as his son Dawn Approach bids to take over the baton of being a Derby hero and Bolger's recent quotes have proved gold in the build up to a Derby that without Dawn Approach would be quite boring.
At a Derby launch last week, Bolger was asked about travel arrangements for Dawn Approach. "Due to security reasons I can't disclose that information, but I'd imagine he will be here on time!" he said in his typically witty manner. That was a quote that brought many chuckles and an example of why Bolger's popularity increases amongst the racing fraternity.