x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Horse racing: Trainer has high hopes for Dawn Approach in English Derby

Jim Bolger, the chestnut's trainer, was bristling with confidence.

Kevin Manning rides Dawn Approach to win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Kevin Manning rides Dawn Approach to win the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Epsom, England // If belief could get Dawn Approach across the line in the English Derby here next Saturday then a place in the winners' enclosure would already be reserved for the Godolphin colt.

Jim Bolger, the chestnut's trainer, was bristling with confidence and enjoyed the verbal skirmish with the compere to Epsom's version to Meydan Racecourse's Breakfast With The Stars.

Clare Balding, of BBC fame, asked the questions and Bolger's rapier answers by conference call could scarcely hide his conviction that Dawn Approach could follow-up New Approach, the horse's sire, and win the Derby for the Irish trainer.

Dawn Approach won the English 2,000 Guineas this month by a dismissive five lengths and no matter how many horses stand their ground at the final declarations on Thursday Bolger believes they will face a much-improved specimen.

"I am very happy with him and he has come out of the Guineas well," Bolger said. His performance in the Guineas was spectacular and that is recognised by everybody.

"He is a eating a little more than before the Guineas and I have no doubt he has improved."

After a lacklustre racecourse gallop on Wednesday, Telescope, part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, the retired Manchester United manager, was scratched yesterday from the race by his trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

Aidan O'Brien still has seven entries in next week's contest, staged over 12 furlongs, and having run a staggering eight entrants in 2007 it is any wonder how many the master of Ballydoyle stables will run.

O'Brien suggested three, comprising Battle Of Marengo, Mars and Magician, but none of likely permutations for Saturday week seemed to fluster Bolger in the slightest.

"I wish them all well, I respect each and every one of them but I won't be losing any sleep about who turns up," he added.

Andre Fabre used the 2011 Breakfast With The Stars event to give Pour Moi and Mickael Barzalona their first sighter of Epsom's unique undulations and the pair used it to good effect by subsequently winning the Derby.

Fabre was once again at Epsom yesterday with Ocovango, who he hopes can at least be placed, if not replicate Pour Moi's triumph.

Ocavango worked over seven and a half furlongs under Pierre-Charles Boudot, his regular rider.

"The idea today was to show him the bend and go downhill," the 24-time champion trainer of France said.

"It was not a serious workout but he was moving well and it was very useful to come here for the horse and jockey.

"It was really important to come also because it is very quiet in French racing but it will be a lot more hectic here next week.

"The race is all about Dawn Approach if he stays but everyone has a chance for places".

Sheikh Fahad Al Thani confirmed that Chopin, trained by Andreas Wohler, would become the first German horse to compete in the Derby as he intends to pay the £75,000 supplementary fee on Monday to put his recent acquisition into the race.

"The Derby is the number one race in the world - the race you want to have a runner in," the Qatari Sheikh said. "A race too that you want to have a runner with a proper chance, which is why we have not been represented until now. Everybody is happy for Chopin to run in the Derby."