Bolger retains faith in Flare ahead of Irish Guineas challenge

Jim Bolger admits “the wheels came off” Poetic Flare’s bid to win a second Classic in France last weekend, but expects a different display in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas on Saturday.

The Dawn Approach colt came out on top in a three-way photo in the Guineas at Newmarket at the beginning of May, but finished only sixth at ParisLongchamp when bidding for a double.

“The wheels kind of came off the wagon a little bit there, but we’ve drawn a line through it and we’re moving on,” said Bolger.

“It was the conditions mainly. While I agree the going was very soft, he couldn’t get a grip for whatever reason and I suspect there was a little bit of padding underneath and he couldn’t get a grip, it was coming away with him.

“He wasn’t going to be able to quicken up like he can in those circumstances and Kevin didn’t get him to where he wanted to be at the two furlong marker. It was just one of those things and we’re moving on.”

Despite the quick turnaround, Bolger believes his latest star is still on good terms with himself and expects a bold show.

“He’s very well, he only had a furlong and a half of a race, so we expected he’d be fresh after it,” he told Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast.

“He’s very durable and has a great constitution. He’d be able to stand up to whatever I throw at him.

“Lucky Vega has to be the danger. He ran a blinder at Newmarket and if he’s as effective on soft ground or heavy, he’ll take all the beating.”

Bolger also runs a second string in Group One-winning juvenile Mac Swiney, who the trainer still hopes can book his ticket for the Cazoo Derby after disappointing in a trial – for which a reason emerged.

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“Mac Swiney was flat in the Derrinstown and didn’t perform at all well, the following morning he had a very copious nasal discharge, but that cleared up over the following weekend. He’s back in work and is doing very well,” said Bolger.

“I need to get the run into him for Epsom and for him to prove his well being. If he does that, I’ll be very happy with him. If he can beat Poetic Flare he can win, but I think at a mile Poetic Flare is the better horse.

“He (Mac Swiney) has all the attributes (for Epsom). He has the class, the constitution and the temperament, he has all of that. I’d be very comfortable going to Epsom with him, provided we get a good show at the Curragh.”

Aidan O’Brien sends three as he aims to take his record score to 12 in the colts Classic at the Curragh.

Battleground, Van Gogh and Wembley represent the Ballydoyle handler on Saturday – but all have to bounce back after being well-beaten at Newmarket behind Poetic Flare.

Ryan Moore will ride Wembley again, with Wayne Lordan on Battleground and Seamie Heffernan teaming up with Van Gogh.

Mac Swiney is one of two Classic contenders from Jim Bolger's stable
Mac Swiney is one of two Classic contenders from Jim Bolger’s stable (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Heading the ante-post betting is the Jessica Harrington-trained Lucky Vega, who was third to Poetic Flare at Newmarket.

There are two British-trained challengers – Charlie Appleby’s La Barrosa and The Rosstafarian from Hugo Palmer’s stable.

The latter held other engagements, including the Join Casumo Today Silver Bowl Handicap at Haydock on Saturday, but connections have opted to have a tilt at a Classic.

Tom Palin, syndicate manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, said: “We’ve had him in a few races – including in Germany, but that is a logistical nightmare to get over there – so we thought the ground is likely to be pretty testing with rain forecast.

“He’s gone through soft ground at Salisbury on debut, and at Pontefract is was pretty testing.

“Our run in the Craven (fifth) was an unlucky run, but one you can mark up. The form has worked out well – with the winner Master Of The Seas, who went on to run a blinder in the English Guineas and finish a short-head second.

“Hugo has spoken to a few people in Ireland, and it was felt it was a race we should be considering at the entry stage.

“I know we’re going to go off at 33-1, 40-1 but it’s the stuff of dreams.”

Colin Keane has been booked for The Rosstafarian in the Irish 2,000 Guineas
Colin Keane has been booked for The Rosstafarian in the Irish 2,000 Guineas (PA)

Ireland’s champion jockey Colin Keane, who won the race last year on Siskin, has been booked for The Rosstafarian.

“His agent rang for the ride,” said Palin.

“If someone like him offers their services, then we were delighted to get him on board.

“We go there towards the bottom of the betting, but I think we will outrun our odds. I’ll be disappointed if we don’t finish in the first half of the field, but you need something to fall your way to get a bit further than that.

“If nothing else, it’s a sensible tilt.”

The field is completed by Agrimony, Emporio, Monaasib and Rebel Step. San Martino and Thunder Moon were the two horses withdrawn at the 48-hour final declaration stage.

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