Jim Bolger once again proved himself to be a master of his craft as Poetic Flare edged out Master Of The Seas in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Bolger won the race in 2013 with Dawn Approach – the sire of Poetic Flare – but this success will mean even more coming as it did in his wife Jackie’s silks.
As ever, Bolger employed his son-in-law Kevin Manning in the saddle, so the Classic success was a real family affair.
Handy throughout as Naval Crown set a very stiff gallop, the winner found himself right in the firing line with a furlong to run.
Master Of The Seas had made eyecatching progress for William Buick and the pair of them set down to battle it out, with Lucky Vega just behind in third.
It came down to a matter of who had their head down right on the line as they flashed by together, with the Irish raider getting the verdict by a short head and a neck.
None of Aidan O’Brien’s trio were ever involved, while Thunder Moon was among the first beaten.
Manning said: “He’s usually a very switched off horse who takes everything in his stride, but he left the gates very quick and on the wrong note and it just took a furlong and a half or two furlongs to reorganise and get into a rhythm.
“He’s very smart and has done it very well. He travelled well and picked up well.
“He just caught me off guard coming out of the gates and I had to sit and suffer, but I didn’t feel he was taking as much out of himself as it might have looked.
“Going down into the dip, when he quickened up I thought he’d put it to bed. In the last five or six strides he was just idling a little bit and coming back underneath me.
“It’s great to get to the other side of it (line, in front).”
Speaking from his County Carlow base, Bolger, 79, who also bred the winner: said: “I thought he was beaten! It’s a big day for us, right up there with the best we’ve had.
“He wasn’t ready for the Dewhurst last year. I thought he was a little bit fitter than he was and I was hoping he’d run a big race and get the experience of running at that level. He ran out of wind about a furlong and a half down, but we were very pleased in the run and didn’t lose faith in him.
“I’m not too concerned about him getting further in time. Kevin did say in the interview on TV that he thought he’d stay 10 furlongs, but at the moment I’m not thinking about going anywhere except the mile.
“He has buckets of speed and I even entered him in the Commonwealth Cup in the unlikely event that he didn’t stay, as he’s that quick and you always have some doubts about whether the very quick ones will stay or not. The St James’s Palace would definitely be on the cards.”
He added: “It’s a wonderful day. In our case it’s fairly necessary with the way I do things! It very much carries on that Dawn Approach line, and I have two half-sisters of Poetic Flare as well.”
Charlie Appleby was proud of Master Of The Seas in defeat
He said: “When they went past the line I thought we’d got beat and someone said ‘no, you’ve won’, so I thought I better sit tight.
“He’s run a great race and backed up his performance in the Craven.
“He travelled lovely through the race and two furlongs down I thought ‘we’re in with a real shout here’.
“He’s picked up well up the hill, but so has Jim Bolger’s horse and well done to him and his team.
“Ascot (St James’s Palace) will be the most likely target for him, but I’ll speak to connections.”
Appleby also saddled the fourth in Naval Crown and the sixth One Ruler.
He added: “Naval Crown ran a hell of a race. I was always confident he’d run a big race, stepping back up to the mile.
“James (Doyle) said One Ruler wants a trip and a bit easier ground, so we may look at putting him on the Derby squad.”
Jessica Harrington was equally pleased with Lucky Vega.
She said: “I’m delighted with him. He ran a great race and proved he stays.
“He’s a relaxed horse and just a little bit fresh. Shane (Foley) said he didn’t come down the hill very well, but he stayed well and he said he was coming back at them with every stride.
“He’s in the Irish Guineas and the St James’s Palace, so they are nice options to have.
“I’ve also got Cadillac, who is meant to be going to the Irish Guineas.
“It’s fantastic to have the two of them. We might have to run them against each other later in the year, although Cadillac might get further – he’s from more of a staying family.”
Other Recent Posts by This Author:
- Samcro back in business with Killarney victory
- Harrington faces two-week ban and fine for breaking Covid protocols at Aintree
- Racing crowds will return as pandemic restrictions ease next week
- Baffert intends to run Medina Spirit in Preakness Stakes
- Boughey eyes sustained progress after flying start to campaign