All across the Turf, there must be wastrels and drinkers wistfully wondering how a man like Jim Bolger, so austere, so abstemious, could possibly go about celebrating his present, astonishing run of success. Men like this are supposed to get their reward in heaven. But yesterday his accumulation of earthly dividends, recently so mountainous, was crowned with a fresh summit.
The performance of New Approach in the Bank Of Scotland National Stakes at the Curragh preserved his trainer from the charge of sacrilege he had invited on their previous visit to the course. On that occasion, Bolger had described the colt as "a European Secretariat", a claim that impressed Sheikh Mohammed sufficiently to persuade him to buy a half-share. After New Approach dispatched the strongest field of juveniles assembled this season, the Sheikh knew that he has not been sold a pup.
After all, bravest resistance to New Approach came from Rio De La Plata, who had promised to restore the Sheikh's own stable, Godolphin, from the margins of the top juvenile races – and, by extension, of the Classics as well. Given the rights he has acquired in New Approach, it was very sporting to run them both. Had New Approach tackled an alternative race here on Friday, the Godolphin team would now be basking in the glory of a young champion. As it is, Rio De La Plata confirmed himself an authentic Group One colt by cutting down every other rival as he accelerated from the rear. These included a third putative star in Myboycharlie, already a winner at this level, but possibly less at home over this seventh furlong. Myboycharlie plugged on for third, but neither of them ever had a prayer of reeling back the winner.
In his uncomplicated way, Kevin Manning soon had New Approach tanking along in front and, while pretty hard at work two furlongs out, they were in total command on the approach to the line. Rio De La Plata was beaten by just under two lengths, with Myboycharlie a similar distance away in third, and Manning had some difficulty pulling up.
And that is the whole beauty of the situation. As a son of the outstanding young stallion, Galileo, New Approach has every right to be even better over longer distances next year. Sure enough, he is now favourite for both the Stan James 2000 Guineas (4-1 with the sponsors) and the Derby (5-1 with Totesport).
Teofilo, of course, also had the world at his feet when he won this same race for Bolger last year, before following up in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, but injury meant that he never raced again.
Bolger had thought that Teofilo might be the horse of a lifetime. "They always told me lightning never strikes twice, but it does," he said. "Last year I knew Teofilo would need to go to the Dewhurst if he was going to be champion two-year-old. But whereas Newmarket was the place to be last year, this year it was the Curragh. All the stars were here, so we don't need to go. However, we'll see how he gets on over the next couple of weeks."
It was not strictly true to say that the constellation was complete, as Raven's Pass is likely to stake his claim in the Dewhurst. And while Bolger praised New Approach for the ruthless simplicity of his racing – "all you have to do is get him in the stalls and he does the rest" – the colt does have his quirks. He refused to enter the parade ring beforehand and had to be mounted on the track. Regardless, there is no doubting his talent.
John Gosden, trainer of Raven's Pass, won his fifth British Classic when Lucarno found stamina to match his class in the Ladbrokes St Leger at Doncaster on Saturday. Mysteriously, however, it was a very first such success for Jimmy Fortune – an overdue decoration for one of the most accomplished jockeys of his generation.
Stan James 2000 Guineas betting (2008, Newmarket, 3 May): Sponsors: 4-1 New Approach, 7-1 Raven's Pass, 9-1 Rio De La Plata, 14-1 Henrythenavigator, Winker Watson, 16 others.
Ladbrokes: 4-1 New Approach, 8-1 Raven's Pass, 10-1 Rio De La Plata, 10-1 Winker Watson, 14-1 Myboycharlie, 16-1 others.
Nap: Tudor Court(Redcar 2.10)
NB: Tonnante (Musselburgh 3.20)Reuse content