Say what you like about Jim Bolger – after all, everyone else has – but the man's legacy will be matched by only a bare handful of horsemen in the world today. Never mind that two of them, Aidan O'Brien and Tony McCoy, learnt their trade under Bolger; over the past three years it has become apparent that he will also leave a lasting imprint on the thoroughbred itself.
Bolger's resurgence as a trainer was crowned only 13 days ago by a first success in the Derby. New Approach was his second successive champion juvenile colt, and both he and Teofilo clearly have much to offer the breed as stallions. Over the years, however, Bolger has perhaps excelled most conspicuously with hardy, brilliant fillies and today he brings two more to Royal Ascot.
Lush Lashes has a glittering role in the day's big spectacle, the Coronation Stakes, but those prepared to bet like they mean it will be more interested in Cuis Ghaire (2.30) in the Albany Stakes. Like New Approach and Teofilo, this filly reflects Bolger's lucrative infatuation with Galileo. And, like them, she is proving the Coolmore stallion capable of siring runners much faster and more precocious than he was, winning both her starts at Naas over six furlongs on fast ground.
The two other fillies who made the podium in her maiden proceeded to fight out the finish of a Listed race next time out; Cuis Ghaire herself meanwhile returned to win a Group Three prize by three and a half lengths. Afterwards Bolger disclosed his regard for her by talking in terms of taking on the colts in the Railway Stakes at the Curragh next time. In the event, he has kept her to the company of fillies this afternoon, and the strong suspicion is that only a potential Classic winner will be able to stop her.
Galileo's ability to impart speed to his progeny is also reflected by Lush Lashes, who did not seem to get home in the Oaks at Epsom and drops down no less than half a mile today. That sets punters a puzzle, because she took too long to find her stride when sixth in the 1,000 Guineas and appeared to luxuriate in the extra distance over 10 furlongs at York next time. It may prove that inexperience entering the Dip delayed her finish at Newmarket, rather than a lack of pace, but a sharp, turning mile permits no margin for error.
In the circumstances it may pay to focus instead on the rivals who finished in front of her at Newmarket. Nahoodh, unlucky in fifth, did not cope with quicker ground in Ireland next time, so it boils down to a choice between the runner-up, Spacious, and fourth, Infallible. Both are owned by Cheveley Park Stud and, with just six starts between them, have plenty more to offer. Infallible (3.45) did not quite get home at Newmarket, having lacked cover from a wide draw, and her fluent action also suggests that this test of raw speed will suit her perfectly. Spacious just took a stride or two longer to get going in the Guineas, and may stay farther in time, but will continue to improve as she matures.
The King Edward VII Stakes looks fascinating, with Bronze Cannon and All The Aces both representing the form of the Derby fourth, Doctor Fremantle, and Winchester likely to thrive for the extra distance. But the same is true of Conduit (3.05), who more or less lapped his rivals on Derby day.
The same connections have a big chance in the Queen's Vase with another upgraded handicapper in Patkai, but Ebadiyan (4.55) has a copper-bottomed staying pedigree and his trainer seldom strays far from the bull's-eye at this meeting.
Nap: Cuis Ghaire
(Royal Ascot 2.30)
(Royal Ascot 4.55)