Anyone that is of a certain age and feels a bit past it at times would have had a spring in their step after this weekend’s Guineas meeting at Newmarket. Where the old (er) guys ruled the two feature races. 

Firstly, on Saturday 79-year-old Jim Bolger saddled 16/1 chance Poetic Flare to land Saturday’s Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes under 54 year old jockey Kevin Manning. The winner hung on grimly by a fast diminishing short-head from Charlie Appleby’s 6/1 shot Master Of The Seas under William Buick.

The winning jockey said ‘I thought I would win but not that it would be that close. He is very smart. He has never done anything wrong, you could not ask for a more straightforward ride. He is a horse on the up and keeps improving. To win any of these Classics is an amazing moment, they are so hard to win as they don’t come around every day of the week and when Jim has one with ability, he doesn’t leave it behind.

Jim Bolger knows the bloodline inside out explaining, ‘I bred him, I bred the dam and the sire, the whole lot. And I also bred his second and third dams, so they have been around here a long time. He has a marvellous temperament, a wonderful turn of foot, you can put him anywhere in a race, he goes on any ground and he has the looks to go with it. In his short career, he has been delivering and I’m sure he will keep on delivering.

The 9/2 favourite Battleground only beat one home, the 11/2 second favourite Thunder Moon, trained by Aidan and Joseph O’Brien respectively. 

Jim Bolger also had a hand in the winner of the Qipco 1000 Guineas Stakes. He trained the dam of victorious Aidan O’Brien trained 10/1 chance Mother Earth winning under Frankie Dettori on Sunday. As we’re on the age theme, Aidan has clocked in at 51 and winning jockey Dettori has it hit the half-century at 50. After storming to a length victory in the classic the winning jockey was exuberant, even by his standards, shouting ‘Come on the oldies’ as ITV’S Matt Chapman attempted to interview him for the cameras. Frankie told Chapman and ITV Racing’s viewers that he had ‘Kicked at the top of the hill, knew she’d get home and I had time to enjoy it.’ When questioned on her participation in the Oaks he added ‘She’s not very big but very brave and very relaxed, she could stay a mile and a half,’ he added the caveat that he’s just the jockey and that other people would make those decisions. 

The gamble of the race had been the move for Andrew Baalding’s Alcohol Free backed from 10/1 in the morning to 5/2 joint favourite. She could only manage fifth behind the other 5/2 chance, Aidan O’Brien’s supposed first string Santa Barbara.

Shedding more light on plans, talking to Racing UK after the race, the winning trainer said he’d been delighted with his runners. He added that that Santa Barbara had to come here today for experience, but she’d learned a lot and that she’d be targeted at the Oaks at Epsom. The plan for today’s winner is to go for the Irish Guineas.

The show that is Frankie Dettori went on, when he treated those watching at home and connections on course to a flying dismount. Evidently over the moon that there’s lead in the old pencil at 50 he was still whooping and lapping up the adulation going to the presentations. And why not, well done Frankie. Aye Aye! 

Simon Nott

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