Monday 22 January 2018

Bolger can take classy Killavullan with Holistic

Trainer Jim Bolger. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile
Trainer Jim Bolger. Photo by David Maher/Sportsfile

Johnny Ward

Leopardstown stages its penultimate Flat meeting of the season tomorrow, and the feature Killavullan Stakes looks a mouthwatering contest.

In truth, this Group Three has had minimal relevance with regard to Classic considerations over the past decade, yet Grey Swallow scored in the 2003 renewal and Footstepsinthesand did 12 months later.

Since then, the Killavullan has gone the way of some less than memorable steeds. This edition, however, is captivating, and, though Aidan O'Brien throws three darts at the race, the champion trainer is far from certain to emerge victorious.

Taj Mahal seems his main pick but he is hardly unbeatable. Ger Lyons runs the promising Territory, while Cork winner Spanish Tenor looks a contender for Tim Doyle.

The vote goes to Holistic Approach, whose sire, New Approach, won the Derby for Jim Bolger. What impressed most about the Coolcullen colt's Curragh maiden win was that it was delivered despite patent greenness, which was somewhat anomalous as Bolger newcomers tend to be professional.

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Godolphin's colt was strong at the wire and it was taking how he could prevail despite such a sluggish start. The extra furlong seems a certain positive.

He had Spirit Of Valor in arrears then. That one, which retains his partnership with Donnacha O'Brien, was not ultra-impressive in scoring at Naas but should be more at home on this firmer terrain.

The Listed Trigo Stakes sees Zawraq return after over a year off and rider Pat Smullen is bullish that the Shamardal colt can make up for lost time. He looks the class act here.

Smullen said: "He is in great form. We thought a hell of a lot of him in the past and we still do.

"I expect a good run good; his form is pleasing me and he has plenty of ability. Hopefully he runs a big race, and we have one eye on next year."

David Wachman, soon to retire, has two runners in the opening fillies' maiden. A chance is taken on White Satin Dancer, which ran a most pleasing race on debut behind the high-class Hydrangea. This Oasis Dream filly ought to have a big future.

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The colts' maiden sees Aidan O'Brien introduce two sons of Galileo wearing tongue ties. Stablemates Oedipus Rex and Spanish Steps also start their careers for Ballydoyle but narrow preference is for Clongowes, which has useful form in defeat for Bolger.

A huge field contests the nursery, and four trainers are double-handed, including Gavin Cromwell. His course winner, the Casamento-bred Pandagreen, is one of the biggest two-year-olds you are likely to see and she should prove better than her rating of 75 sooner or later.

Racing concludes with a charity race, which has been supported by Aidan O'Brien, son Joseph, Gordon Elliott and Jessica Harrington among others. Qatar Racing's Sheikh Fahad Al-Thani, Mouse Morris' son Jamie and Herald writer Niall Cronin are among the riders.

Irish Independent

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