Not for the first time, Jim Bolger has caused a fluttering in the hen-house ahead of one of the season's feature races. The sidelined Derby hero New Approach is, surprisingly, among 16 contenders who remain in Tuesday's York International after the penultimate confirmation stage.
And although the clever master of Glebe House had his cards firmly clamped to his chest after the acceptors were revealed yesterday, bookmakers have introduced the colt into the betting as second favourite behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained odds-on shot Duke Of Marmalade.
New Approach, who carries the colours of Sheikh Mohammed's wife Princess Haya, has not been seen since Epsom, having suffered a muscle injury, but has been back in full training in Co Carlow for several weeks and is reported in fine fettle. He also holds an entry in next month's Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, which had been his expected comeback.
Bolger has also left star three-year-old filly Lush Lashes, who has an alternative in the Yorkshire Oaks two days later, in the International. "We haven't firmed anything up yet," said Bolger, "I haven't looked at the entries and it will be the weekend before we make a decision."
Duke Of Marmalade, who will be accompanied to post on the opening day of the Ebor meeting by his usual pacemaking stablemate Red Rock Canyon, is as short as 4-7 with Ladbrokes to win his fifth Group One prize of the season, with New Approach 6-1. The best of the home side is perceived as Henry Cecil's Phoenix Tower, trounced by Duke Of Marmalade at Royal Ascot and then inched out by another Ballydoyle inmate, Mount Nelson, in the Eclipse Stakes.
O'Brien accounts for 10 of the 16 left in the Great Voltigeur Stakes on the same card, but is likely to run just the four, Alessandro Volta, Washington Irving, Bashkirov and Hebridean. The St Leger favourite Patkai has also stood his ground in the 12-furlong contest, but his Sir Michael Stoute stablemate Doctor Fremantle will miss the race after bruising a foot at exercise yesterday morning.
Sheikh Mohammed spent $11.7m (£6.2m) to acquire Meydan City as a yearling for his Godolphin team so the £13,500 he shelled out yesterday to add the Storm Cat colt to the Great Voltigeur field hardly counts. Meydan City has won stylishly twice since his debut in June, and will now step up in grade. "He's progressing nicely," said the blues' racing manager Simon Crisford, "and we think he's ready for a bigger challenge."
Trainer Evan Williams and jockey Christian Williams were cleared yesterday by the BHA's disciplinary panel of any wrongdoing over the running and riding of Zamboozle at Worcester last month. The pair were referred under the so-called non-triers' rules by local stewards to the greater authority after the horse finished eighth of 10 in a selling hurdle on his first start for the Welsh trainer.
At a separate inquiry, conditional rider Eamon Dehdashti was given a three-week ban after admitting a series of whip offences on Deltic Arrow at Newton Abbot 10 days ago. He hit the gelding, who returned with weals on his hide, more than 30 times.
* Chepstow yesterday abandoned tonight's meeting after further heavy rain hit the track. Tomorrow's card at Newcastle could be in jeopardy if more rain arrives.
Great Leighs tonight: Hyperion's selections: 5.30 Hurricane Harriet; 6.00 Celtic Spur; 6.30 Vilna; 7.00 My Mentor; 7.30 Saleima; 8.00 Desert Hawk.Reuse content