Bolger planning double Irish Derby challenge

JIM BOLGER could be double-handed with Puncher Clynch and Carraiglawn in Sunday’s Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby at the Curragh.

Both are around 16-1 chances as the Coolcullen trainer seeks his second success in the colts’ Classic after triumphing with St Jovite in 1992.

Puncher Clynch has not raced since beating Investec Derby runner-up At First Sight and Queen’s Vase scorer Mikhail Glinka in the Ballysax Stakes at Leopardstown in April.

Carraiglawn is on the upgrade, having won his last two starts at Navan and the Curragh.

“It’s likely I will run the two of them and likely Kevin Manning will ride Puncher Clynch and David Moran will ride Carraiglawn,” said Bolger.

“It was a good run from Puncher Clynch in the Ballysax. He’s a very competitive horse and he doesn’t give up easily so I’m sure he will give a good account of himself.

“Carraiglawn will appreciate the step up to a mile and a half but it could also be when he is a four-year-old before we see the best from him. I think that’s a pattern with Rock of Gibraltar’s offspring. They are later maturers than he was himself.

“It’s fairly likely I will run both.”

Meanwhile, Arctic is on course to make a belated seasonal debut in the Dubai Duty Free Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday.

And trainer Tracey Collins is hoping for safe ground for the three-year-old colt who looked a smart prospect last term.

The son of Sharmardal won his first three starts as a juvenile culminating in a Group Three contest at the Curragh in August.

He was then upped to Group One company for his final start and although he ran well for a long way, he was last of five to Awzaan in the Middle Park Stakes, beaten four and three-quarter lengths by the winner.

“He’ll definitely run. I’ve spoken to the racing manager at the Curragh and he says they will have good, safe ground for Sunday. If it is like that he will run,” said Collins.

“He’s done very well over the winter, but we’ve had to wait a bit to get him started this season. He’s been growing and the ground here has been way too quick.

“I’ve been happy with him and he’s ready to start. He’s an exciting horse to have in the yard.”

Rain Delayed has been a consistent performer for Ger Lyons and the Co Meath trainer expects the four-year-old to run another good race should he take his chance.

“It was very obvious it wasn’t his running at the Curragh (in May). He held his breath and spent his run on one breath and collapsed at the two pole and that was the end of him,” he said. “If you look at his history he runs consistently all the time, so he was entitled to one bad day.

“He came back off that and ran back to form just behind Miss Gorica in the Listed Sprint at Naas.

“He’s now making the step up to Group Three and I think he’ll run well as long as it’s good, quick ground.

“He’s only had one bad run for me and that was in the Greenlands and the form has worked out well with the winner (Markab) running second at Royal Ascot.

“He’s got good consistent form and if he runs he will run well.”

Paul Deegan is praying for suitable conditions to allow Lady Springbank to line up at the Curragh this weekend.

The daughter of Choisir was a hugely impressive winner of the 1000 Guineas Trial at Leopardstown on her first start of the season but could only finish 14th in the Classic itself.

Deegan feels the quick surface did not help her cause that day and he would ideally like rain ahead of her possible run in the Woodies D.I.Y. Celebration Stakes on Sunday.

“She’s a good filly but she’s a much better filly on soft ground and it was just too quick for her in the Guineas.

“She gave Jim (Crowley) a brilliant ride that day and travelled beautifully and Jim said he couldn’t believe how well she was going.

“But as soon as he went for her, he felt she was just going up and down on the spot.

“She really wants a bit of give in the ground but as long as it’s safe, we might have a go on Sunday as she is dropping in class.”

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