By Simon Jackson.
Jim Bolger has given an upbeat report on the chances of Moonlight Magic in the Investec Derby on Saturday week after the colt worked at ‘Breakfast with the Stars’ at Epsom Downs on Tuesday morning.
Moonlight Magic, a winner of three of his four starts, was amongst five sets of horses entered in the Derby and Oaks who exercised in front of members of the public and press at Epsom; on ground that was soft after overnight rain.
The son of Cape Cross won both of his starts as a two-year-old, that included a Listed race at Leopardstown in October. He could only finish fifth on his return but impressed at his next start when scoring by one and a quarter lengths in the Group 3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at Leopardstown on May 8.
The Godolphin-owned runner is 10-1 (Coral) for the one and a half mile Classic and Bolger is confident that he will handle the undulations of Epsom in the Derby on June 4.
“I rate Moonlight Magic as a good Investec Derby prospect and I would not swap him for anything else in the race. I could not be happier with him,” said Bolger, speaking by telephone from Ireland, after the workout.
“He has the looks, demeanour, balance and temperament to go with his pedigree. There are no holes in this fellow.
“He is a beautifully balanced horse so hopefully he will handle Epsom well. I thought that when he won the Derrinstown, on the day he was as good a Derrinstown winner as St Jovite [1992 Derby runner-up] had been.
“We will have to wait and see what occurs in the various Derbys to see whether he gets up to St Jovite’s level.
“It is a pretty good field for the Derby but if I can get my horse fresh and well on the day then I think he will give a very good account of himself.
“He is a very straightforward colt and a lovely horse to work with. The minute the foals drop or we get a horse into training we send off the samples to Eqinome.
“Moonlight Magic and [Investec Oaks entry] Turret Rocks have a good chance of getting a mile and a half.
“Turret Rocks is very well,” Bolger continued. “I have to put my hands up and admit I left her a bit short for Newmarket (sixth in the QIPCO 1000 Guineas) but that race will have set her up nicely for the Investec Oaks.
“I could not be happier with her. She is fit and well at the moment and my gallops are pretty stiff so she has done plenty.”
John Ferguson, Godolphin’s chief executive and racing manager, was at Epsom Downs. He added: “Moonlight Magic is a very exciting horse. He was very impressive as a two-year-old and came out at Leopardstown this year on very heavy ground and did not scope perfectly after that.
“One can forget about that run and then he won the Derby trial very well. He is a beautiful horse with a beautiful pedigree. He is from the family of Galileo and Sea The Stars and has done everything right as far as I am concerned, and he is trained by a master.
“I think he has a really, really strong chance. Jim has made no secret about how highly he rates this horse.
“He has had so many great horses through his hands and he and the whole yard know a good one when they see one – they are very optimistic.”
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