Wednesday 21 February 2018

Bolger is left searching for answers after Dawn failure

Trainer, Jim Bolger, centre, walks the course ahead of the The Derby Festival at Epsom
Trainer, Jim Bolger, centre, walks the course ahead of the The Derby Festival at Epsom

JA McGrath

DESPITE claims to the contrary, Jim Bolger believes the Epsom Derby was run to suit favourite Dawn Approach, which trailed in last of the 12 runners after pulling hard for his head during the first mile of the Classic.

Bolger, who was at Chantilly yesterday to saddle runners in the Prix du Jockey-Club, said it was a mystery how his superstar colt – which spreadeagled the 2,000 Guineas field – was fired up from very early in the race.

"It was totally out of character. He was relaxed beforehand – I have no idea what happened, but I am concerned that whatever it was might have lasting effects," he said.

Ballydoyle were praised for a tactical triumph, but Bolger took a different view and argued no colt was more favoured when it became a sprint. Speaking at Chantilly, Bolger said that he was at a loss to explain why the colt pulled so hard: "He got a bang leaving the stalls and I think that set him alight. With the slow pace then, Kevin wasn't able to get him settled.

"The race was set up for him, had he settled. It didn't happen. We've got to get him home and see how he is, it will be a couple of weeks (before we see what happens)."

Proof of the depth of three-year-olds Ballydoyle possess is that a week prior to the Derby it appeared Ruler Of The World would miss Epsom and run at Royal Ascot.

Magician took the Irish 2,000 Guineas on fast ground at the Curragh and he emerged as the big hope of the Irish team for the Derby. But, when rain arrived on Derby week, plans changed. Magician was out and Ruler Of The World, the Chester Vase winner, was back in the mix, with Ryan Moore booked. Joseph O'Brien stayed on Battle Of Marengo.

Some will question the quality of the winner, which beat the second Libertarian by a length and a half, with Galileo Rock, Battle Of Marengo and Ocovango all close up. When they finish in a heap, the tendency is to say the form may not amount to much, but that can only be evaluated later in the season. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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