Bolger’s Pleascach has audacious classic hat-trick in sights

Tilt against colts to follow gutsy half-length victory over her 1,000 Guineas rivals

Kevin Manning on Pleascach (purple checked hat) wins the 1000 Guineas from Ryan Moore on Found  at the Curragh yesterday. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan

Kevin Manning on Pleascach (purple checked hat) wins the 1000 Guineas from Ryan Moore on Found at the Curragh yesterday. Photograph: Lorraine O’Sullivan

 

Pleascach’s Tattersalls Irish 1, 000 Guineas victory looked more relentless than explosive, but Jim Bolger’s filly threatens to light a fuse under the Curragh record book this summer with an audacious classic hat-trick in her sights.

A determinedly singular outlook has helped Bolger to a worldwide reputation as a trainer and breeder, and his reaction to Pleascach’s gutsy half-length defeat of the favourite Found in the mile classic was to outline plans for a tilt against the colts in next month’s Irish Derby, before clashing again with her own sex in the Irish Oaks three weeks afterwards.

Concrete evidence that this is far from an idle whim came last week when Bolger paid €12,500 to add her to the field for the 150th Irish Derby, a race under pressure due to accusations of a lack of competition, but which now could see a filly trying to win it for just the third time in the modern era.

Fillies

A horse winning three Irish classics in a single year is not unknown either, but Windsor Slipper’s hat-trick of 2,000 Guineas, Derby and St Leger came in 1942 and followed the colt’s path, while Bolger’s aims with his latest home-bred classic star are typically ambitious.

However, this is a trainer who came within a head of an unprecedented 1,000 Guineas hat-trick in 2007, with Finsceal Beo winning at both Newmarket and the Curragh, only to be just denied in the middle leg in France, all in the space of only three weeks.

On a day when the virtue of resolution was further advertised by Al Kazeem repeating his 2013 triumph in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, providing a fairytale Group One comeback from a failed stud career, Pleascach’s classic victory also lacked nothing in grit.

A strong pace cut out in stages by her two stable companions, Mainicin and Steip Amach, saw Kevin Manning kick on the winner over two furlongs out. Found briefly appeared short of room in behind her, but although the Ballydoyle filly closed to the line she failed by half a length.

A stewards enquiry looked at Pleascach’s drift left towards Found but there was no contact and the favourite shied away sharply in the final strides.

Bolger’s Derby ambitions are based on some typically calculated reading of the form book and the trainer said: “Entering her in the Derby wasn’t so much what I thought about her; it’s really what I thought about the colts, with all due respect to our neighbours.

“We think she’s very good, she’s right on that level with the colts. I bred the filly, her sire, and the dam of the sire. She’s explosive, just like her name.”

Cut odds

Jack Naylor

Giovanni Canaletto is still in most Derby lists but Aidan O’Brien appeared to indicate Epsom may be bypassed after the colt’s narrow Gallinule defeat by Curvy.

“It would be hard to throw him at Epsom, coming down that hill, but we’ll see how he is. He’s still babyish,” he said.

Al Kazeem’s unreliability in the baby-making business meant he returned to Roger Charlton last year, but a fourth career Group One had the English trainer shaking his head in admiration.

“To have him back from stud like this, I’d say it’s my proudest moment,” he said, and nominated Royal Ascot’s Prince Of Wales’s next. “As long as he’s enjoying it, he’ll keep going.”

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