Jim Bolger Stable Tour

    Leading Irish trainer Jim Bolger gives us the inside scoop on his top prospects for 2018, headed by National Stakes hero Verbal Dexterity.
  • Wednesday 04 April 2018
  • Stable Tours

Jim Bolger is a phenomenon on the international horse racing scene.

A self-made man like no other in racing, the fact that he progressed from the bottom to the top of the training game is a remarkable achievement in itself, but in the last decade or so, Bolger has become more self-sufficient than any top trainer around the world, with his world-class breeding programme producing the majority of the horses he trains.

This breeding programme has produced top-class performers such as Teofilo, Trading Leather and Dawn Approach that Bolger trained to win multiple Group 1 races.

With a strong team of older horses and an array of Classic prospects headed up by the National Stakes winner Verbal Dexterity, Bolger looks set to have another successful season in 2018.

He was good enough to sit down with Kevin Blake of attheraces.com to discuss his string.

Older Horses

Clongowes

  • 4-y-o; bay colt
  • Breeding: New Approach - Punctilious (Danehill)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Curragh, 30 Jun 2018 17:55
  • Result: 3/14, disputed lead early, prominent, challenged from 4f out, on terms over 2f out, soon headed, no extra in 3rd and eased near finish
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 96, he progressed steadily in handicaps last season, winning the Ulster Derby at Down Royal and going close in the Petingo Handicap at Leopardstown on his final start in September.

Trainer Says:

I think he’ll make a nice bit of progress this year. I could see him making as much improvement this year as he did last year and will hopefully make up into a stakes horse. He has an entry for this weekend, but he’s unlikely to run with the ground being so soft. He wants better ground.

Video Form
30 Jun 2018:
17 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
13 May 2018:
22 Apr 2018:

Flight Risk

Form Profile:

Rated 108, he won the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown last season.

Trainer Says:

He’s entered at Naas on Sunday and is likely to run there. He pays his way every year and he’s just one that I don’t think we’ve ever seen the very best of on the track, as he’s not straightforward and needs absolutely everything to drop right for him. On his day, he is probably still capable of winning a Group 2.

Video Form
7 Oct 2018:
28 Oct 2017:
1 Oct 2017:
24 Sep 2017:
17 Aug 2017:

Goldrush

  • 4-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Frankel - Alexander Goldrun (Gold Away)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Curragh, 26 May 2018 16:45
  • Result: 4/6, soon raced in 4th, pushed along 3f out, soon challenged, no impression 1f out in 3rd, one pace and dropped to 4th again inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 95, she didn’t debut until September of her three-year-old year, but she is now unbeaten in three starts including two Listed races at Dundalk.

Trainer Says:

She did very well last year and I’d say we’ll start her back in Listed company and look to build from there. It was just immaturity that kept her off the track for so long. She isn’t overly big, it’s just that she was always a bit weak and needed to strengthen. I’d be hopeful she can win a Group race before the year is out and while we might try her at a mile-and-a-half, a mile-and-a-quarter seems to suit her. I don’t know if she’ll be kept in training next year, but if she was given the time, she could be as good as her mother in the fullness of time.

Video Form
26 May 2018:
27 Oct 2017:
13 Oct 2017:
2 Sep 2017:

Panstarr (GB)

Form Profile:

Rated 100, she progressed up through the handicap ranks and made a promising seasonal reappearance when a close second to Making Light in the Park Express Stakes at Naas in March.

Trainer Says:

She has improved a nice bit and the handicapper agrees. She took her time coming to hand and I found myself making excuses for her early runs, but I always liked her and the fact that she disappointed early on resulted in her becoming well handicapped. She handles testing ground well, but should be fine on better ground and seems versatile with regard to trip.

Video Form
22 Sep 2018:
16 Sep 2018:
10 Sep 2018:
11 Aug 2018:
2 Aug 2018:

Smash Williams

  • 5-y-o; chestnut gelding
  • Breeding: Fracas - Take Flight (Pivotal)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Navan, 14 Oct 2018 14:40
  • Result: 3/14, prominent, 4th approaching halfway, led under 2f out, kept on well final furlong, headed close home, 3rd and bumped near finish
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 98, he won a Group 3 as a juvenile and returned to form on his seasonal reappearance when a close second in a handicap at Naas.

Trainer Says:

I think we have him back. He got very bad ringworm in 2016 and lost his action as well. We gelded him and everything seemed to come back right with him after that. He ran very well on his return at Naas and I think we can get him back up to a rating of 110. He’ll stick to sprinting and he’s probably fine on any ground bar extremes.

Video Form
14 Oct 2018:
7 Oct 2018:
16 Sep 2018:
12 Aug 2018:
21 Jul 2018:

Stellar Mass

Form Profile:

Rated 107, he won a Group 3 and was placed in the Irish Derby as a three-year-old. He failed to win last season, but did finish in the frame in pattern company.

Trainer Says:

He’s back and we’re looking forward to him. I’d say we’ll go a mile-and-three-quarters with him again, but I wouldn’t be sure about two miles. He isn’t ready to go just yet, but he wants good ground anyway so there is no rush.

Video Form
14 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
9 Aug 2018:
1 Jul 2018:
10 Aug 2017:

Tribal Beat

Form Profile:

Rated 110, he won a Group 3 at Leopardstown in 2016, but was restricted to just one start last season.

Trainer Says:

He’s ready to go and I’m just waiting for the ground to dry out for him. I have never found it easy to balance his work with his wellbeing, as he is a big gross horse but if you get too stuck into him he can flatten out. I think he’ll get a mile-and-a-quarter.

Video Form
13 May 2018:
7 May 2017:
10 Sep 2016:
11 Aug 2016:
24 Oct 2015:

Turret Rocks

  • 5-y-o; bay mare
  • Breeding: Fastnet Rock - Beyond Compare (Galileo)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Curragh, 1 Sep 2018 14:50
  • Result: 9/11, dwelt, always towards rear, never a factor, pushed along and no impression under 2f out, no extra, kept on one pace
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 106, she won a Group 3 at the Curragh and was Group 1-placed last year.

Trainer Says:

She ran badly in the Oaks in 2016 and it has just taken time to get her back to where I think she can be. She is a lot stronger this year and the hope is that she can come back and win a Group 1 this year. She is versatile with regard to trip and could run from a mile to a mile-and-a-half. Good ground is important to her.

Video Form
1 Sep 2018:
11 Aug 2018:
19 Jul 2018:
1 Jul 2018:
29 May 2018:

Twilight Payment

  • 5-y-o; bay gelding
  • Breeding: Teofilo - Dream On Buddy (Oasis Dream)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Limerick, 13 Oct 2018 14:45
  • Result: 3/7, tracked leader, 2nd halfway, pushed along early straight and ridden to challenge under 2f out, kept on one pace inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 105, he won a Listed race at the Curragh in 2016 and acquitted himself well without winning in Group company last season.

Trainer Says:

He has been gelded and will be back this year. He is a good ground horse and will stay two miles. He could possibly be an Ascot Gold Cup horse this year, but he still isn’t fully there in terms of maturity and should be better again next year.

Video Form
13 Oct 2018:
30 Sep 2018:
16 Sep 2018:
25 Aug 2018:
27 Jul 2018:

Zorion (GB)

Form Profile:

Rated 93, he made an impressive winning debut in a seven-furlong maiden at Roscommon in August 2016 and finished a well-held third in the Leopardstown 2,000 Guineas Trial in his only start last season.

Trainer Says:

He’s had a few problems, but he’s in good nick at the moment. I’m hoping he can improve and come up to stakes level. He looks a miler to me and good ground will suit.

Video Form
10 Oct 2018:
15 Sep 2018:
1 Sep 2018:
16 Aug 2018:
30 Jun 2018:

Three Year Olds

Change Of Velocity

Form Profile:

Shaped well in maidens at the Curragh and Leopardstown without winning.

Trainer Says:

He’s a very big horse, all of 16-3hh, and he has done very well over the winter. I probably shouldn’t have even run him as a two-year-old. He should stay at least a mile-and-a-quarter and I would imagine that he will win his maiden. He’s ready to run and will do so once the ground dries out.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
14 Jul 2018:
29 Jun 2018:
23 Jun 2018:
4 Jun 2018:

Cimeara

  • 3-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Vocalised - Gold Mirage (Galileo)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 26 Jul 2018 20:10
  • Result: Won/9, close up on inner, 2nd halfway, closed over 3f out, progress to lead narrowly under 2f out, ridden over 1f out, edged left under 1f out, kept on well, strongly pressed close home, joined on line
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 78, she made a winning debut in a maiden at Gowran Park prior to running before below form in a Group 3 at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

I probably threw her in at the deep end at Leopardstown and I wouldn’t like to judge her too harshly on that. She’ll probably be a mile-and-a-quarter filly this season and she’ll go handicapping for the moment. I think she should be able to improve up the ranks and she should be versatile with regard to ground. She’s from the family of Goldikova and is a bit of a looker, so she’ll have residual value as a broodmare regardless of how much she improves this season.

Video Form
26 Jul 2018:
12 Jul 2018:
7 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
14 Apr 2018:

Claiomh Geal (GB)

  • 3-y-o; chestnut filly
  • Breeding: Leroidesanimaux - Claiomh Solais (Galileo)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Leopardstown, 16 Apr 2018 15:30
  • Result: 7/8, soon raced in 3rd, stumbled slightly at roadway soon after 3f, pushed along approaching straight, soon lost place and no impression over 1f out, no extra final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

An unraced filly that is a granddaughter of the high-class producer Scribonia, she is entered in the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Irish Oaks.

Trainer Says:

She’s definitely a good maiden. She’s very big and has taken her time to come to hand, but she’ll get there. She is likely to be campaigned between a mile and a mile-and-a-half. I don’t know how high she might go, but I like her.

Video Form
16 Apr 2018:

Dawn Delivers (GB)

  • 3-y-o; chestnut filly
  • Breeding: Dawn Approach - Siyasa (Rahy)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Curragh, 30 Jun 2018 16:00
  • Result: 9/10, raced on outer, chased leaders, bumped inside first 3f, 3rd 3f out, soon no extra, eased inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 92, she won a maiden at the Curragh in July and went on to finish third in the Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

She’s ready to go and I’d be hopeful that I can win a Listed race with her. She should get a mile anyway and I think better ground will suit her best.

Video Form
30 Jun 2018:
8 Jun 2018:
13 May 2018:
7 May 2018:
20 Aug 2017:

Epaneema

Form Profile:

Made a promising debut when second to Sizzling in a maiden at Tipperary in August, but disappointed on her only other start at Leopardstown.

Trainer Says:

She disappointed us in her last run and she has been slow to come to hand this season, but I’d be hopeful she’ll win a maiden anyway. I think she will be versatile when it comes to ground.

Video Form
15 Oct 2018:
3 Sep 2018:
13 Apr 2018:
9 Sep 2017:
31 Aug 2017:

Luceita

  • 3-y-o; chestnut filly
  • Breeding: Dawn Approach - Lura (Street Cry)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Curragh, 31 Aug 2018 17:50
  • Result: Won/28, tracked leaders, soon 4th, challenged and on terms over 1f out, quickly in front and stayed on well
  • View full form
Form Profile:

An unraced half-sister to the high-class miler Lucida, she is entered in the 1000 Guineas and the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Trainer Says:

She’s a lovely filly. She had a couple of little problems at the backend of last season, but she’s ready to go now and is just waiting for the ground to dry out. I’ll start her off over seven furlongs or a mile and she could end up staying a mile-and-a-quarter. I think she could be a good filly.

Video Form
31 Aug 2018:

National Security

  • 3-y-o; chestnut colt
  • Breeding: Teofilo - Halla Siamsa (Montjeu)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Curragh, 29 Jun 2018 20:55
  • Result: 2/6, prominent, on terms inside first 3f, soon led, joined over 2f out, headed and kept on without matching winner inside final furlong
  • View full form
Form Profile:

A full-brother to the Group 1 winner Parish Hall, he was sent off the odds-on favourite for his debut at Dundalk in November, but proved disappointing on the day.

Trainer Says:

He’s a lovely horse. He didn’t seem to know enough about the game when he ran at Dundalk, but he’ll be a different proposition this year. He should win his maiden once he gets good ground and could develop into a stakes-class stayer. He could stay two miles. He’s ready to go and is just waiting for the ground to dry out.

Video Form
29 Jun 2018:
2 Jun 2018:
19 May 2018:
13 May 2018:
10 Nov 2017:

Park Bloom

  • 3-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: Galileo - Alluring Park (Green Desert)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Gowran Park, 15 Aug 2018 18:10
  • Result: 8/14, soon prominent and raced in 2nd, pushed along briefly over 4f out, not match leaders when bumped 1f out, one pace after
  • View full form
Form Profile:

An unraced full-sister to the Oaks winner Was from the immediate family of New Approach, she is entered in the 1000 Guineas, the Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Irish Oaks.

Trainer Says:

She’s a lovely filly that should win her maiden and hopefully make her way up the ranks. She is very relaxed and laid back at home, but I suspect she’ll be different when she gets to the track. She looks a middle-distance filly in the making. She’s a lovely model of a filly and with a pedigree like hers, I’m very lucky to have been asked to train her.

Video Form
15 Aug 2018:
22 Jul 2018:
24 Jun 2018:
8 Jun 2018:
29 May 2018:

Scriobh Nua

  • 3-y-o; bay filly
  • Breeding: New Approach - Scribonia (Danehill)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Killarney, 16 Jul 2018 18:00
  • Result: 3/5, close up, progress to 2nd 4f out, ridden to challenge under 2f out, every chance 1f out, kept on, dropped to 3rd final 100 yards, no extra
  • View full form
Form Profile:

An unraced filly that is closely related to an array of stakes performers, perhaps most notably the Albany Stakes winner Cuis Ghaire. She is entered in the 1000 Guineas and the Irish 1,000 Guineas.

Trainer Says:

She’s a gorgeous filly. I sent her to the yearling sales and would have let her go for a million, but we weren’t getting that so we took her home. Her temperament is as good as her looks and I couldn’t believe she didn’t make the million! I was always going to give her time and she had a small setback at the backend of last season, but she’s ready to go now and I’m just waiting for better ground for her. I think she’ll be a miler and the hope with a filly like her is that she could progress into one for the likes of the Irish 1,000 Guineas. It’s hard to know and they can often fool you both in a good way and a bad way, but those are the hopes we’d have for her.

Video Form
16 Jul 2018:
27 Jun 2018:
14 Jun 2018:
27 May 2018:
20 May 2018:

Strike For Freedom

  • 3-y-o; bay colt
  • Breeding: Dream Ahead - Saor Sinn (Galileo)
  • Trained by: J S Bolger
  • Last Race: Tipperary, 11 Aug 2017 18:55
  • Result: 6/7, prominent, led soon after 1f, joined approaching straight, soon headed and raced towards inner, no impression 1f out, soon eased and no extra
  • View full form
Form Profile:

Rated 94, he made a winning debut in a maiden at the Curragh in June and finished second in a winners’ race at Naas the following month. He disappointed in his final start of the season in a Listed race at Tipperary.

Trainer Says:

He had a bit of a setback at the backend of last season and isn’t long back in training, but I think he’s a good type of horse. He could be a Group horse. He’ll stay a mile and I think he’ll be ground versatile.

Video Form
11 Aug 2017:
8 Jul 2017:
11 Jun 2017:

Theobald

Form Profile:

Rated 101, he won a maiden at Leopardstown and a winner’s race at Dundalk last year.

Trainer Says:

I’m very happy with him. He’s done very well over the winter and is a lot stronger now. I perhaps didn’t shine with him at the backend of last season. We ran him in the Racing Post Trophy to make the running and it wasn’t very clever, as he just ran too freely on ground that didn’t suit him. I wanted to get his mind right after that, so that’s why we kept him going and ran him at Dundalk in December. That worked out well, as he settled well and did everything right. I’ll probably enter him in the Craven, as he wants good ground and could well get it there. I think he might stay a mile-and-a-half in due course. I expect to have a good year with.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
30 Aug 2018:
31 Jul 2018:
25 Jul 2018:
12 Jul 2018:

Verbal Dexterity (IRE)

Form Profile:

Rated 117, he won a maiden and the National Stakes at the Curragh prior to finishing fourth in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster.

Trainer Says:

His trainer didn’t shine with him at the backend of last season. I was hoping to run him in the Dewhurst, but he didn’t scope right leading up to it and we didn’t run. At that stage, he had a chance of being European Champion Two-Year-Old, so we decided to take a chance and run him in the Racing Post Trophy two weeks later, but it didn’t work out and he never raised a gallop. Considering that he never travelled, we were amazed at how close he finished for a horse that was so wrong. He was quiet for a month after that and it must have been a low-level bug that just knocked the edge off him. It wasn’t a good day at the office for me and we paid the price for it. He has done well over the winter. He was a very mature-looking two-year-old, but he has continued to grow well into himself. I think he’ll stay at least a mile-and-a-quarter and he seems versatile with regard to ground. The plan is to run him in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and he won’t have a run before then. I’m very happy with him at the minute.

Video Form
15 Sep 2018:
26 Aug 2018:
28 Oct 2017:
10 Sep 2017:
1 Jul 2017:
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