Bolger warming to Dawn Approach running in Derby

Jim Bolger admits it is “more than likely” his 2000 Guineas hero Dawn Approach will be allowed to take his chance in the Investec Derby at Epsom next month.

Unbeaten in six starts as a juvenile, the son of Bolger’s 2008 Derby hero New Approach went one better than his father by storming clear in the season’s opening Classic on the Rowley Mile.

While the Irish 2,000 Guineas at the Curragh on May 25 has not been completely ruled out, Bolger feels it is more likely the Godolphin-owned colt will instead step up to a mile and a half at Epsom the following weekend.

“What I said beforehand was that if he ran up to his best form I thought he’d win and he excelled in that area. It was his best performance to date,” the trainer said.

“Kevin (Manning) wound him up a bit sooner as he wanted to hit the top of the hill in full flight. That’s exactly what he did and it worked out very well.

“Sheikh Mohammed (owner) and I have agreed that we’ll both sleep on it, ponder the situation and maybe talk in 48 hours.

“On his breeding you would expect that he would not get it (the Derby trip), but because he’s so relaxed and he has so much class, there is a reasonable chance that he will get it.

“For that reason, it probably will be decided that he’ll go there. It will more than likely be Epsom. He wouldn’t have the stamina influence New Approach had in his pedigree, but that doesn’t mean he will not stay.

“If New Approach had the temperament of Dawn Approach, he’d have stayed the Gold Cup distance (two and a half miles). Because he was so industrious, it limited his staying ability.”

* Salsify remains on course to sign off another outstanding season in the Champion Hunters’ Chase at Stratford next month.

The Rodger Sweeney-trained eight-year-old retained his title in the Foxhunter Chase at the Cheltenham Festival in fortuitous circumstances, profiting from fellow Irish raider Oscar Delta unshipping his rider on the famous run-in.

However, Salsify looked back to his brilliant best when slamming the same opponent at the Punchestown Festival and the trainer’s son, Colman, is looking forward to getting back on board at Stratford on June 7.

He said: “The plan is still the same with him – he goes to Stratford.

“He was brilliant in Punchestown but we expected that as he wasn’t right at Cheltenham.

“He had a bad journey across to England and had a few problems before the race - we were even thinking about taking him out before the morning of the race.

“It’s a shame Stratford isn’t two weeks ago and he’s 100% after Punchestown and wants to race again.

“It’s a long time to keep a horse sound, but hopefully he’ll be spot-on for Stratford.”

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