Bolger opts for Irish Oaks with Lush Lashes

JIM BOLGER set punters another conundrum when coming out in favour of the Darley Irish Oaks over the Epsom equivalent after Lush Lashes stylishly scored in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at York.

The County Carlow handler ruled one-time ante-post favourite New Approach out of the Vodafone Derby to head to the Curragh instead and a similar path is likely to be taken by the daughter of Galileo.

The Goffs Fillies Million winner finished a staying-on sixth in the 1000 Guineas earlier this month and relished the step up to a mile and a quarter from a mile under Kevin Manning.

Sent off the well-backed 2-1 favourite, Lush Lashes appeared on the scene full of running at the three-furlong marker and kicked on soon after to record a striking five-length victory.

Once-raced Cape Amber came from off the pace to claim second, with Dar Re Mi third and Aidan O’Brien’s Moonstone in fourth.

Bookmakers immediately made Lush Lashes favourite for the Juddmonte-sponsored Oaks, with Ladbrokes going 2-1.

However, William Hill and Cashmans went 6-4 ’with a run’ after news emerged that the Curragh version is the favoured option.

Having spoken to Bolger at his Coolcullen base, the trainer’s travelling head lad Ger Flynn said: “The boss has just been on the phone and he says we’re not going to rule anything out.

“At the moment the Oaks at Epsom and the Curragh are on the cards, but it will more likely be the Curragh. We won’t rule the English Oaks out, we’ll see how she is when we get her home.

“That is her second trip over here so we need to see how much the race has taken out of her and how many kilos she has lost.

“She did it very easily though and Kevin was very, very happy with her.

“There is a good break between now and the Irish Oaks, but Epsom is only three weeks away.”

Manning added: “There wasn’t much pace early on, but they quickened a long way from home.

“I have no worries about her getting a mile and a half.

“She quickened up well and galloped all the way to the line.”

Richard Hannon’s Assertive finally broke his Group-race duck with a battling success in the Duke Of York Hearthstead Homes Stakes.

The five-year-old had come up short in 15 previous attempts in Pattern company but given an aggressive ride by Ryan Moore, he held off James Eustace’s former South African sprinter War Artist by a neck.

It was a brave run from the runner-up, who was still lumbered with a Group One penalty from his days spent in his native land.

The winner was in receipt of 5lb and may find it difficult to confirm the form in the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot where the two could meet again.

Both were given 16-1 quotes for the Ascot event by Paddy Power.

Beckermet was a only a neck back in third and ran a cracker for Roger Fisher, with the well-backed Aidan O’Brien-trained US Ranger fourth.

Godolphin opened their European account for 2008 when Folk Opera rallied gamely to land the William Birch And Sons Construction Stakes.

Frankie Dettori was always prominent on the filly and the 6-1 shot beat Tastahil by three-quarters of a length.

Sylvester Kirk’s Fathsta continued his improvement to hold off 7-2 joint-favourite Generous Thought in the Blue Square Premier Goes To Wembley Stakes.

The 12-1 shot was second at Chester last week and Richard Hughes drove him out to win by two lengths, although he was in receipt of 9lb from the second who came from last to almost first under Jamie Spencer but ultimately had too much to do.

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