Bolger has high hopes for ICW

Following a press morning at his Coolcullen yard, Jim Bolger runs the rule over his handful of live chances on Irish Champions Weekend and looks back over his 40-year career.

Jim Bolger with Irish Champion Stakes contender Moonlight Magic

Bolger on Moonlight Magic's claims in the Irish Champion Stakes:

"I think I'm in with a chance. Moonlight Magic hasn't lived up to his early promise so far but conditions will suit him at the weekend and it's possible he didn't see out the mile and a half in the Irish Derby. That being the case, I'm hopeful 10 furlongs will suit and he seems to be at the top of his game, it's a race I'm really looking forward to.

Bolger on his other runners on Irish Champions Weekend:

"I'm hopeful dropping back to a mile will not inconvenience Turret Rocks in the Matron and I'm hopeful of another good run. Stellar Mass has come good over the last few weeks and has won four of his last five races and finished third in the Irish Derby.

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He doesn't have a Harzand to contend with in the Enterprise Stakes so I'd be very optimistic. Qatari Hunter will hopefully run in the mile Group race (Boomerang Stakes), which is a drop in trip, but I'm hoping it won't inconvenience him. Radio Silence will run in the two-year-old Group Three (Juvenile Turf) and I'd be optimistic he'll give a good account, the mile will suit him well."

Bolger on his previous Irish Champion Stakes winners:

"I remember Park Express had good form coming into the race and I was hopeful she'd put up a good show. As it happened, she ran the race of her life and won it so I remember it very well. It was lovely to win my first Champion Stakes, I didn't think it would take so long to win my next one but thankfully it happened and hopefully before I hand in the licence I'll win another.

I was very fortunate to be able to buy New Approach (out of Park Express) as a yearling. At that stage his mother was 22 and a lot of people will not buy a yearling out of a mare that old but as long as the progeny look good they seem to have been reared well. He looked the part, we took a chance and it paid off."

Bolger on the early days of his career:

"We started off with 18 horses in my first year and we managed to have 22 winners, which was a good return. It happened very quickly. As a result, there was never too much pressure. The winners kept climbing from 76 to 85 but then we had a virus which affected them badly and I think we ended up with about 30 winners.

But then we were back on track in 1986. In 1992 we had 137 or 138 winners which meant we broke Senator Parkinson's record, which had stood since 1924, so that was a terrific year. Dermot Weld's keeps encouraging me and he has been there longer than I have, though he might not like to be reminded of that!

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