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Sunday 11 December 2016

Mick Kinane: Master of Coolcullen is still as strong as ever

Trainer Jim Bolger talks with Jockey Kevin Manning
Trainer Jim Bolger talks with Jockey Kevin Manning

I thoroughly enjoyed last weekend at the Curragh where the master of Coolcullen, Jim Bolger, showed no signs of slowing down, with two very good winners.

And I'd say we certainly saw a Royal Ascot two-year-old in Round Two, who won the Marble Hill Stakes. It will also be very interesting to see how Jim's plans for Pleascach develop as he now aims her at the Irish Derby and the Irish Oaks.

I was very taken by Round Two when I saw him at Naas previously, he is a real proper stamp of a horse and I expect him to have a big season ahead.

Jim and his team got the pacemaking duties spot on in the 1000 Guineas and a lot of credit has to go to Ronan Whelan and Rory Cleary who made the running and set it up perfectly for Kevin Manning.

Aidan O'Brien's filly Found had to come from a bit further back and with Pleascach's stamina kicking in, it was always going to be very hard to beat her but I'd take a lot of encouragement from Found's run in the race and I'd say it is a race that could work out very well for the year. I know there is a lot of speculation circling about the prospect of Found running in the Epsom Derby but I just cannot see that happening, to be honest.

I can see exactly why Jim Bolger might want to run Pleascach in the Irish Derby, even though she is a filly, but it's a different story around Epsom and it is still only the start of June. Throwing Found in against those big colts at Epsom would be too big an ask, I think.

A filly that has come in for plenty of support for the Epsom Oaks is Jessica Harrington's Jack Naylor and you wouldn't be surprised if the money was right for that one. She was one of the few horses to come from the back of the field and run well at the Curragh last weekend and although the Epsom Oaks is less than two-weeks after the Irish 1,000 Guineas, it was her first run of the season and she didn't know she was in a race for a long period so she could run well.

Gleneagles probably wasn't as impressive at the Curragh as he was in Newmarket but the ground being on the slow side of good would have been a factor there and I think we'll see a better horse at Royal Ascot.

He is a very talented horse and having enjoyed some very good days on his sire, it's amazing to see Gleneagles having an almost identical head.

For people looking for more Royal Ascot clues, Naas on Monday certainly looks the place to be.

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