Bolger's Dawn Approach for Dewhurst at Newmarket
The wheel has come full circle. Five years ago Jim Bolger trained New Approach to win the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
The horse was subsequently sold to race in the colours of Princess Haya and went into the winter widely considered the most likely winner of the following season's English 2000 Guineas. He finished second by a nose.
This afternoon at Newmarket, Bolger will line up Dawn Approach, a son of New Approach, as the overwhelming favourite to take the Dubai-sponsored Dewhurst en route to being crowned Europe's champion juvenile.
Dawn Approach's credentials are flawless. He is unbeaten in five starts, which included a victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot where he had Olympic Glory, last weekend's Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere winner, back in second.
The compact colt has the same never-say-die attitude as his father, and Bolger is hopeful that he can add to his already significant record in the seven-furlong contest.
"One thing that they very much have in common is the will to win," Bolger said of the two horses.
"After that, there would not be a lot of similarities. New Approach was highly charged and it was a bit of a struggle to keep the lid on him.
"But this fellow is quite laid-back, even lazy in his races. He is very relaxed and I don't have any horses that sleep longer than he does!
"Dawn Approach showed us almost from the word go. Just watching him, you could see this fellow had something - he has a terrific action. He is able to quicken up when the need arises and loves his racing.
"I've been very fortunate to have four horses that could win the Dewhurst Stakes - hopefully this fellow will be the fifth."
It is easy to see, therefore, why Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, came calling once again.
The founder of the Godolphin operation reportedly purchased a controlling share in Dawn Approach after Ascot.
On the record the details of the purchase resulted in Dawn Approach wearing the royal blue of Godolphin for his subsequent success in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh in Ireland last month.
Kevin Manning, Bolger's son-in-law, retained the ride and will be in the saddle again today. Yet that is where the trail goes cold.
Dawn Approach was always to stay with Bolger until the Dewhurst Stakes, after which time a decision would be made whether to transfer the colt to either Mahmoud Al Zarooni or Saeed bin Suroor in Newmarket, or leave him be in Ireland.
Although both parties are keeping quiet the fact that Dawn Approach has raced in Godolphin blue, rather than in any other silks available to the Maktoum family, must surely be significant.
Bolger may well have a long-standing relationship with Sheikh Mohammed, but not even Mark Johnston, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed's principle trainer, has been given a horse to train that has been ridden in Godolphin colours for a whole season.
The royal blue silks are reserved for Al Zarooni and Bin Suroor alone in Europe. Bolger has the perfect facilities to train a horse for both the Dewhurst and the English Guineas.
In 2008 the former accountant purchased Beachy Park, a beautiful period residence set in 244 acres of prime Irish farm land.
At €5.35 million (Dh25.4m) it was the highest price paid at auction in Ireland that year.
Bolger set about re-creating a 10-furlong gallop there that mimics the contours of Newmarket, including the drop down and then steep incline to the finish line known as "The Dip".
The Dewhurst Stakes has been a rich training ground to Classic success the following season.
Frankel won two years ago on his way to a spectacular career that ends next weekend in the Champion Stakes.
In 2005 Sir Percy won the race before he took the Derby at Epsom the following year. Shamardal won the French Derby in 2005, having scored in 2004.
The list is endless.
Godolphin have not won the English 2000 Guineas since Island Sands jumped off the plane from Dubai to win in 1999.
The Dubai-based operation have a miserable record in the race and Dawn Approach provides them with the perfect prepacked racehorse with which to win it for only the third time.
"New Approach had a good record at Newmarket," Bolger said. "I am hopeful Dawn Approach will handle Newmarket as well as New Approach did and maybe go one better in the Guineas."
If that does indeed prove to be the case, then the wheel will have gone round once again.
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