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Cornelius Lysaght column

Cornelius
By Cornelius Lysaght
BBC racing correspondent

New Approach trainer Jim Bolger
Bolger's New Approach admission has not been met with universal approval

Jim Bolger's reputation as one of flat racing's more enigmatic characters gallops on boundlessly.

The Irish-based trainer of Epsom Derby hope New Approach and Oaks prospect Lush Lashes is the "Marmite man" of his profession - you either love or hate him.

However, the extraordinary confusion over the participation of New Approach in the 229th Derby has seen the latter camp swell considerably.

For months after a brilliant two-year-old season, the colt, bought by Derby-admiring racehorse owner Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai for his wife Princess Haya, was favourite for the Classic.

Then, in April, Bolger announced at his County Carlow stables that a campaign was set to take in both the Newmarket and the Irish 2000 Guineas (the horse was second in both), but not Epsom.

Then late May saw Bolger insisting that New Approach was mistakenly not scratched from the Derby. All that could be read into the situation was that the trainer was "losing his marbles".

And then, five days before the race, New Approach was declared a certain runner - provided ground conditions are good or on the soft side of good.

It should be emphasised that Bolger has done nothing wrong as such, but there is also little doubt that all trainers have responsibilities to the public at large

Bolger explained the horse had come out of the two Guineas races better than expected and denied there had been any pressure from the Sheikh.

Officials at Epsom described themselves as "delighted" to get an unexpected present in the big race line-up from the man born on Christmas Day in 1941.

The same applies to those with ante-post tickets containing New Approach's name.

Others, however, who had made Derby calculations based on the horse's absence, were furious and there has been much talk of "contempt" for punters in angry parts of the media.

And quite what the person must be thinkingwho accepted a bet of 27.50 on New Approach at odds of 209-1 on an online betting exchange on 1 June is probably not printable on this website.

All said, no-one should necessarily have been surprised about all this.

The motor trade accountant turned self-taught racehorse trainer - who no-one has ever accused of losing his marbles - is notoriously difficult to read, plus he has form in this area.

606: DEBATE
ilcorpo

His slightly eccentric ability to surprise is legendary. He once fell asleep instead of telling the world that injury had forced Teofilo, favourite for the 2000 Guineas of 2007, to be pulled out of the Classic.

It should be emphasised that Bolger has done nothing wrong as such, but there is also little doubt that all trainers have responsibilities to the public at large, so he is perceived to have come up short on this occasion.

After all, income from the betting industry helps to fund the sport of which he is an acknowledged master, a mastery that many believe will be demonstrated once again in the Derby.




see also
Bolger dismisses Derby criticism
02 Jun 08 |  Horse Racing
Fremantle set to have Derby run
23 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Cumani pleased with Curtain Call
21 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Tajaaweed win raises Derby hopes
09 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Epsom Derby meeting schedule
22 May 08 |  Horse Racing
Horse racing on the BBC
14 Mar 08 |  Horse Racing
Quiz the racing team
29 Mar 07 |  Horse Racing


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