JIM BOLGER gained further compensation for Dawn Approach’s flop in the English Derby when his Trading Leather landed the Irish equivalent at a busy Curragh on Saturday evening when I was pleased to see the crowd was up on last year.
Trading Leather looked the probable winner from the six-furlong pole and although Epsom third Galileo Rock did make a race of it, he was unable to get past Kevin Manning’s mount who held on by a length and three-quarters from that rival.
Bolger was winning our premier Flat race for the second time following on from St Jovite’s victory in 1992, but I was especially pleased for Manning, taking the contest for the first time.
He might not have the personality of a Frankie Dettori, for example, but he always goes about his business in a quiet and assured manner and the tremendous loyalty that he has shown Bolger has been reciprocated by the trainer. All in all a great team.
I’m not sure what the result means for the English Derby form? I said last week that the winner had Derby credentials despite not having run at Epsom, but the winner of that race Ruler Of The World didn’t look the same horse here, while Galileo Rock did boost the form of the English event putting in another game effort.
Ruler Of The World’s trainer Aidan O’Brien expressed the opinion afterwards that his charge could be more of a mile-and-a-quarter horse at the top level so perhaps the Juddmonte International at York or the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown could be right up his alley.
After the three-day extravaganza at The Curragh last weekend, domestically the racing isn’t so good this week so I’m going to have a look at Saturday’s Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in England as well as the King George at Ascot later in the month.
Al Kazeem currently heads the Eclipse market and will be very hard to beat but providing O’Brien’s Mars has come out of his Royal Ascot exertions in fighting form, I think that he has the ability to shake up the favourite.
The Galileo colt has always been highly regarded at Ballydoyle and it’s amazing that he still only has a Dundalk maiden win to his name.
But his effort at the Royal Meeting was top-drawer behind two very good horses in Dawn Approach and Toronado in the St James’s Palace Stakes and I really liked the way he was going on at the finish which makes me think the 10 furlongs at Sandown should really suit.
Looking at the King George, that race was mooted as a possible target by Bolger for Trading Leather and as the Carlow wizard went that route with St Jovite, who followed up at the Berkshire track, I think that’s where he’ll head.
The mile and a half really seemed to bring the best out of him at the weekend and I don’t expect connections to revert to 10 furlongs. Bolger may be ruing not taking him to Epsom, but races such as this and the Arc could well be theirs for the taking.
The British & Irish Lions rather fluffed their lines last Saturday when after leading 15-9 with just five minutes to go, Australian centre Adam Ashley-Cooper scored the winning try.
While I obviously wanted the Lions to win, on a positive note it does leave a mouthwatering tiebreaker between the two sides on Saturday and there’s nothing between the pair in the betting.
Last weekend’s game was dominated by both defences and while Lions captain Sam Warburton is out of the series decider, Warren Gatland’s outfit could be more attacking with other returning players and that could swing it their way.
Saturday, Sydney 11.05am - British & Irish Lions to win; Saturday, Sandown 3.50pm - Mars; Saturday, July 27, Ascot 3.50pm - Trading Leather