Bolger's approach yields dividends in autumn of career

Irish ally of Turf's rival superpowers poised to land fifth Dewhurst victory in seven years

It is an eye that famously misses nothing – and so, in turn, remains eye of the storm. For everyone else, not least Frankie Dettori, the sport's rival empires only ever converge in tempests of cold pride and hot emotion. Yet somehow Jim Bolger navigates calmly between them, a steely, seasoned admiral who has uniquely harnessed the contrary trade winds of both Sheikh Mohammed and John Magnier.

The latter, along with his partners at Coolmore, is indebted to Bolger not only as mentor of their trainer, Aidan O'Brien, but also as breeder of the champions who gave such impetus to the stud career of Galileo. The sheikh, meanwhile, has identified Bolger as a precious conduit to the Coolmore bloodlines he painfully abjured – to the transparent detriment of his stock – at public auction.

On Saturday, the Co Carlow trainer saddles Dawn Approach as hot favourite for the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, a prize he has won four times in the past six years. One of three Royal Ascot winners from a first crop, Dawn Approach is flagship of an explosive start to the stud career of New Approach, the Galileo colt Bolger sold to the sheikh before he won the 2008 Derby. Dawn Approach himself now runs in Godolphin silks.

New Approach yearlings will be in corresponding demand during the big sale that opened at Tattersalls in Newmarket yesterday. Few buyers, however, will have wit or craft enough to borrow Bolger's own strategy. He loves to see others dismiss the family tree on a catalogue page because recent branches have borne little fruit. "So long as there's some Group One by the fourth dam, and no bum sires," he stipulates. "The agents don't buy those 'blanks', so I can – and then try to fill them in."

As it happens, Bolger has already sold his yearling sister to Dawn Approach – at a sale back in Ireland, last week – for €775,000 (£624,000). "I've always said it's better to be born lucky than rich," he pronounces. While it sooner looks a matter of judgement, at the very least he has ended up as both.

His singular personality had long been expressed by the likes of St Jovite or Jet Ski Lady, who won a King George and Oaks respectively by 12 and 10 lengths. But it was Teofilo, his first Dewhurst winner in 2006, who launched new fulfilment for this complex man – arch, stubborn and inspired, with standards so unyielding that he lit a path not just for O'Brien but also the young Tony McCoy. One of Galileo's first stars, Teofilo was sold to the sheikh. By 2008, presumably using the proceeds, Bolger was renovating a decayed mansion – once owned by an uncle of Disraeli – half an hour from his Coolcullen base and transforming its estate into a sumptuous new wing for his training operation.

Last week he boxed Dawn Approach across to work over a gallop woven out of historic transplants from Newmarket and the Curragh and Leopardstown. The unbeaten colt was escorted, as usual, by Leitir Mor. "It's the first time I've had a Group Three winner as a work horse or pacemaker," Bolger remarks. "The hard part is that I can't sell Leitir Mor. He's too valuable. He'll bring any horse to the furlong marker."

The superior colt did have a price, however. Having sold the sheikh a majority stake, Bolger does not yet know whether Dawn Approach will be transferred to one of the Godolphin trainers for his Classic campaign. Regardless, he views the colt as essentially a miler. The Derby could instead beckon Trading Leather, a son of Teofilo who recently won his maiden by seven lengths. He, too, appears on the Future Champions' Day card, in the Autumn Stakes.

Even if Dawn Approach happens to be beaten by Dundonnell, Bolger's Dewhurst streak would not have run dry. Prior to Dundonnell's emergence, Bolger bought his dam – a sister to Danehill, no less – for just $9,000. Dawn Approach's mother had herself cost little more, at $16,000. "She was a gorgeous mare, very correct," Bolger says. "New Approach was strong, but mean and lean, whereas this fellow is more rounded. He'd be more mature, at this stage, and has a better temperament."

His best horses, male or female, have been conspicuously robust, as though conforming to the work ethic that pervades the stable. As for his own appetite, at 70, he shrugs. "It's not really hard work. It's constant work. At this stage, I've no ambitions whatsoever. But I'm between a rock and a hard place, when it comes to retirement. I have a staff of 100 and, basically, I'm working for them the last few years. As far as I can ascertain, they'd like me to continue."

He does so, however, with fresh satisfaction. "I did feel, at one stage in my brief career, that I hadn't produced a stallion," he admits. "So it's nice to get that job done, anyway."

Turf account

Chris McGrath's Nap

Tamarkuz (8.0 Kempton) Tricky draw, but looks fairly treated for his handicap debut.

Next best

Royal Dutch (8.30 Kempton) Progressing well in early stages of his handicap career, set plenty to do when finishing well last time.

One to watch

Blazeofenchantment (Noel Quinlan) Shaped well for his new trainer at Wolverhampton last week, rather detached from the action but keeping on nicely after being short of room.

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
News
people Emma Watson addresses celebrity nude photo leak
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionModel of the moment shoots for first time with catwalk veteran
Life and Style
fashionAngelina Jolie's wedding dressed revealed
Sport
Alexis Sanchez, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa and Mario Balotelli
footballRadamel Falcao and Diego Costa head record £835m influx
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Madame Vastra and Jenny Flint kiss in Doctor Who episode 'Deep Breath'
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Danish director Lars von Trier
tvEnglish-language series with 'huge' international cast set for 2016
Life and Style
tech
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 3 Teacher Cornwall

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbridge Wells - £32,000

£30000 - £32000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Generalist (standalone) - Tunbrid...

Year 3 Teacher Plymouth

£23500 - £40000 per annum: Randstad Education Plymouth: Year 3 Primary Teacher...

Junior Software Developer - Newcastle, Tyne & Wear - £30,000

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer / J...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering