Bolger in fine form
Oylegate trainer second to O’Brien
While Aidan O'Brien has been hogging the Classic and Group 1 headlines as usual, fellow Wexford man, Jim Bolger - with whom Aidan learned his trade 25 years ago - has had a very good firs half of the season and has had 28 winners, second only to O'Brien who heads the standings on 36.
A lot of the Bolger runners are home bred at his Oylegate stud and they run in the colours of his wife, Wexford town native, Jackie. It is very much a family affair at their Coolcullen operation as their daughter Una looks after a lot of the administration and she is married to stable jockey, Kevin Manning. They have another daughter, Fiona.
Recent winners have included Flight Risk in the €63,000 Oliver Brady Memorial Ballycorus Stakes, and Glamorous Approach in a €50,000 listed race, both at the Curragh.
He had a very nice priced double at Fairyhouse on Friday evening with Fountain (6/1) and Sometimesadiamond (20/1).
Bolger is one of the shrewdest operators on the business and shows no signs of slowing up. In fact, looking at him it is hard to believe that he will be 76 next Christmas Day.
The eyes of the racing world will be on Royal Ascot all this week for the most high-profile meeting of the British season.
This is the Cheltenham of the flat year with the top horses of all age groups contesting a host of Group 1 contests.
As has become usual, Aidan O'Brien will be leading the Irish charge and hoping to add to his tally of 55 Royal Ascot winners. He will be ably supported by Jessica Harrington who is becoming a force on the flat in addition to her great jumps successes, and by Jim Bolger and a few others.
Wexford riders had eight winners between hem in Britain last week.
On Monday, Pat Dobbs pulled off a shock with April Stock (12/1) at Windsor for Brendan Powell, getting up by a head.
There was a Wexford double at Fontwell on Thursday in a pair of handicap hurdles. Tom O'Brien made Peter Fahy's trip over from Ireland worthwhile on Benny in Milan (5/2f), and Daryl Jacob scored on Ben Case's Ginger Fizz (15/2).
Jonathan Moore was re-united with Rebecca Curtis at Aintree on Friday evening and won easily on the Welsh trainer's Vintage Vinnie (7/4f) over three miles.
Pat Dobbs had his second of the week at Chepstow on Carpe Diem Lady (2/1f) for Ralph Beckett.
Joseph O'Brien sent his Lynn's Memory across for the second time in recent weeks to compete in a very ordinary race at Bath, and this time she duly obliged under a good ride by Jimmy Quinn (New Ross) at a tasty 6/1.
Pat McDonald scored a nice double on Saturday night at Leicester for Mark Johnston on Sicario (5/2) and Izzy Bizu (6/4f), bringing his tally for the season to 42, and twelfth place in the flat riders' championship.
Pat Dobbs had a frustrating Sunday at Salisbury, being beaten into second by a neck in two races.