Jim Bolger has hit the ground running in the new flat season, grabbing a fabulous four-timer at Gowran Park to stay at the head of the trainers list.
Bolger, who also runs a huge breeding operation in his native Wexford and Beechy Park Stud, was responsible for breeding three of Saturday’s winners.
He kicked off his winning quartet with Plamas in the opening seven furlong maiden for three-year-olds.
The daughter of Teofilo, who incidentally was also bred and trained by Bolger, handled the bottomless conditions. Leading after a furlong out, she ran all the way to the line where she had two and a half lengths to spare over Torpedo Alley.
With very little in the way of racecourse form to go on it’s difficult to get an accurate picture of the quality of the race, but the winner did her job well. The fact that she hold Guineas entries on both sides of the water would suggest that she is held in some esteem. Out of the Danehill mare Danemarque, she is bound to have plenty of gears.
Another of the progeny of Teofilo, the bay colt Theophilus, was successful in the mile and four maiden also for three-year-olds.
Attracting strong support in the betting market Theophilus, who was having his first outing in public, was settled behind the leaders. He arrived with his challenge at the two furlong marker and once rider Kevin Manning changed his hands he careered away to win as he liked by nine lengths from the outsider Asknotwhat.
This was as smart a display as one could wish to see by the winner in the conditions. He is bound to improve once the ground dries up and it will be interesting to see where he fits into the trainers Derby plans.
The well-touted Thomas Wedgwood from the Aidan O’Brien yard was struggling from the half-way point and was eased considerably in the straight, but no doubt he will have another day.
Diplomat was all the rage in the extended mile and a furlong conditions race but after attempting to make all the running he faded in the straight and had to be content with third place behind the Bolger and Manning’s Einsteins Folly.
Although he disappointed in the Irish Lincoln Einsteins Folly had proven himself on testing ground. Manning settled him close to the leader before sending him to the front a furlong and a half out, from where he pulled out plenty to beat Dalkova by four and a half lengths.
Cosmic Cannonball completed the Bolger/Manning winning run with a decent performance to land the mile and four furlong maiden for older horses.
Owned and bred by London-based Waterford man Mick Ryan, the daughter of Holy Roman Emperor became the third debutante to score for the trainer that afternoon.
She was not rushed early on but came with a sustained challenge in the straight to pick it up with a couple of furlongs to race and readily land the spoils by a length and a half from Toe The Line.
Out of the Montjeu mare Uimhir A Haon, the winner is well related. Now that she has gained a winning bracket she will be a valuable asset as a broodmare.
Tom Foley showed that he can saddle one to win on the level as well as over the jumps when capturing the mile and a half 55-74 handicap with All About Life.
Given a cracking ride from the front by Shamie Heffernan, the six-year-old had them all in trouble turning to face the judge. With the rider keeping him up to his work hit the wire a couple of lengths to the good from the Pat Flynn-trained South South West.
A consistent enough animal, the winner took plenty of money out of the ring in spite of Heffernan having to carry 1lb overweight.
As he has shown many times in the past Foley is a past master at getting one right for a touch. With All About Life he has a horse that can be relied on to score again before conditions change drastically.
Although he failed to raise a flag for the Ballydoyle team Joseph O’Brien did not leave the meeting empty-handed as he joined forces with Roger Sweeney to take the mile and a furlong 47-69 handicap aboard Daliyan.
Never too far out of his ground Daliyan responded well top the urgings of O’Brien to skip clear inside the two furlong pole and win with a little in hand from Dragon Khan.
An out and out soft ground horse Daliyan will be kept on the go in an effort to add to his collection while conditions remain testing.