Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Bolger ‘s Accidental Derby

So New Approach wins the Derby (Saturday 7th June) in the style of a very good horse indeed. What a jolt to the British racing establishment; and it showed in the sniffy post-race interviews. Bolger had dissed the Derby by saying that he would rather run the horse in the Irish 2,000 Guineas followed by the Irish Derby – he inferred that the Epsom Derby didn’t really rate these days. As the Derby grew closer he reiterated this and claimed that the horse had only been left amongst the entries due to an administrative error on his part.

Then six days before the race Bolger announces that the horse will run after all. Consternation all round – pious fulminations in the Racing Post – apoplexy in Newmarket and Lambourn. And you can imagine the effect all this had on the ante-post market – at one stage this putative favourite was as high as 209-1. Bolger maintained that the soft ground changed his mind and that he was delighted when the owner’s (Sheik Mohammed’s wife no less) agent rang to discuss running the horse. He also asserted that his administrative error was the "best mistake" he ever made.

The bottom line of course is that all this is pious guff. Bolger didn’t want to run him but the owner saw a Derby opportunity (it’s a race Sheik Mohammed has never won) and made the decision. I’m sure Bolger can endure the humiliation – all he needs to do is look at his Derby trophy.