Bolger One Two In The Irish 2000 As New Approach's Mac Swiney Prevails

Mac Swiney | racingfotos.com

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Staged in dour conditions for late-May, Saturday's G1 Tattersalls Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh will shine like a beacon for Jim Bolger evermore as Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) edged out Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) in a thriller to provide the Coolcullen master with a first renewal of the Classic. Sent straight to the front by Rory Cleary from his inside draw, last year's G1 Futurity Trophy winner Mac Swiney was there to be shot at throughout but it was only his G1 2000 Guineas-winning stablemate who could mount a serious challenge as he loomed inside the final two furlongs. Possibly briefly headed a furlong from home, the 8-1 shot dug in to prevail by a short head, with 3 1/4 lengths back to Van Gogh (American Pharoah) in third. The winner will now head to the June 5 G1 Epsom Derby for another showdown with Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who he had trailed on his comeback in Leopardstown's G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial May 9. Not only was this a first Irish 2000 Guineas for Jim Bolger, it was the biggest success by far in the career of the yard's stalwart Rory Cleary who said, “I've never ridden a fancied horse in a big race, never mind a Classic. The boss this morning just told me to jump out good and smart and ride a race on him and see how it unfolds. The further we went, the better he was going under me and he stayed at it so well. I think the ground, with it being a bit on the wet side, meant that his stamina really came into play. Kevin [Manning] came to me and we quickened away together again. I think they're two very smart horses. I just can't believe it.”

Named after the Irish playwright and politician Terence Macswiney, the winner's in-and-out race record seems to emulate the story of his namesake's trials resulting in both struggle and success. While he had wins in Doncaster's Futurity Trophy and this track's G2 Futurity S. to his name at two, those highs had been interspersed with genuine dips in fortunes. Only eighth in the G1 Vincent O'Brien National S. again here in September, the chestnut was a surprisingly tame fourth on his return in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial before it was learned that he had scoped dirty. Coming right in time to put his case forward for a tilt at the Epsom Classic which had seemed such a formality before his comeback flop, he was plainly content on the front end and still travelling better than anything with the possible exception of Poetic Flare heading to three out.

Put to the test as Poetic Flare arrived on his left and Van Gogh on his right with a sapping final two furlongs to race, the homebreds had seen off Van Gogh by the time the furlong marker was reached and from there the famed Coolcullen boss could enjoy the spectacle unfolding. The runner-up showed abundant courage just six days after his effort when sixth in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains and it could be that a combination of his recent travails and the unsuitably soft ground resulted in him lugging left at a crucial stage. Whatever the reason for his errant tendency in the run to the line, Mac Swiney was in no mood to hand out any concessions and stayed true to effectively outstay his mate at the death. With the 7-2 favourite Lucky Vega (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) a further 1 1/2 lengths away in fourth and beaten almost five lengths in total, the form was given underlying strength to add ballast to one of the owner-breeder and trainer's finest hours.

One of the great shames of the occasion was that Bolger was unable to attend, but his daughter Una Manning was on hand to sum up the weight of the occasion. “He's not afraid to take on a challenge,” she said in reference to her father's unflinching enterprise. “He was talking about running the two horses and I said 'wouldn't it be great if Poetic Flare won and Mac Swiney was second and then went to Epsom and did a New Approach', but it ended up the other way around. Rory has been such a loyal second jockey in the yard for so many years and he very much deserves this win. We've always had faith in Mac Swiney. He wasn't quite himself at Leopardstown, but that does happen with horses and nowadays we all know about the mucus because we can scope them, so it's different to years ago when you wouldn't know.”

“I just spoke to the boss and obviously he's absolutely delighted with the horse and very pleased with Poetic Flare as well,” she added. “I'd say it was probably a race for horses that stay the mile well with the conditions. The plan is to go to Epsom with Mac Swiney and we'll see how Poetic Flare comes out of the race before deciding whether he'll go to Ascot for the [June 15 G1] St James's Palace. This is Rory's day and Mac Swiney's day and Terence MacSwiney's memory will live on for another while.”

Mac Swiney, who is inbred 2×3 to Galileo (Ire), is out of the unraced Halla Na Saoire (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) who is a full-sister to the G2 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial and G3 Ballysax S. scorer and G1 Irish Derby third Light Heavy (Ire). She is also a half to Halla Siamsa (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}), who produced the G1 Dewhurst S. hero Parish Hall (Ire) and the G2 Futurity S. third Hall of Fame (Ire) from matings with Teofilo. The third dam Amoura (Northfields) is also the ancestress of the Listed Curragh S. winner and G3 Round Tower S. third An Ghalanta (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor {Ire}), who in turn is responsible for the Listed Empress S. scorer Time Scale (GB) (Charm Spirit {Ire}) and the GII Nassau S. and G3 Albany S. runner-up Bletchley (GB) (Makfi {GB}). Halla Na Saoire's as-yet unraced 2-year-old colt by Vocalised is named Quavering (Ire).

Saturday, Curragh, Ireland
TATTERSALLS IRISH 2000 GUINEAS-G1, €448,000, Curragh, 5-22, 3yo, 8fT, 1:41.32, sf/hy.
1–MAC SWINEY (IRE), 128, c, 3, by New Approach (Ire)
1st Dam: Halla Na Saoire (Ire), by Teofilo (Ire)
2nd Dam: Siamsa, by Quest for Fame (GB)
3rd Dam: Amoura, by Northfields
O-Mrs J S Bolger; B/T-Jim Bolger (IRE); J-Rory Cleary. €232,000. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng, 8-4-0-0, $529,971. Werk Nick Rating: F. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Poetic Flare (Ire), 128, c, 3, Dawn Approach (Ire)–Maria Lee (Ire), by Rock of Gibraltar (Ire). O-Mrs J S Bolger; B/T-Jim Bolger (IRE). €80,000.
3–Van Gogh, 128, c, 3, American Pharoah–Imagine (Ire), by Sadler's Wells. O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Mrs David Nagle; B-Barronstown Stud (KY); T-Aidan O'Brien. €40,000.
Margins: SHD, 3 1/4, 1HF. Odds: 8.00, 5.00, 4.50.
Also Ran: Lucky Vega (Ire), Emporio (Ire), La Barrosa (Ire), The Rosstafarian (Ire), Monaasib (GB), Agrimony (GB), Rebel Step, Wembley (Ire). Scratched: Battleground. Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

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