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Rain pushes Approach back to favouritism

LEOPARDSTOWN'S downpours are swinging the betting pendulum towards New Approach as Jim Bolger's Derby winner nearshis second clash in a fortnight with Duke Of Marmalade in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes.

Some 45 millimetres of rain fell on the Dublin track between early Friday morning and the afternoon, prompting the ground to become soft and move New Approach to favourite on several of the bookmakers' revised betting and also on the exchanges.

Just two weeks ago he met the Aidan O'Brien-trained Duke Of Marmalade in the rescheduled Juddmonte International Stakes at Newmarket, where the chestnut was very keen in the early stages and finished third, just over three lengths adrift of his rival.

O'Brien has outlined concerns about running five-time Group 1 winner Duke Of Marmalade on an unsuitable surface and Totesport now make New Approach 11-10 favourite against the Ballydoyle challenger at 5-4.

Paul Petrie, spokesman for the Wigan firm, said: "For the first time in a while the Duke is friendless in the market and all of the money today has been for New Approach.

"It could be because of punters thinking Duke Of Marmalade will not like the ground at Leopardstown, or maybe because they feel he won't even turn up, butin our books New Approach is the only horse punters want to back."

Tony Calvin, representative of betting exchange Betfair, added: "After the torrential rain at Leopardstown today, it isn't the greatest surprise in theworld to report New Approach back at the top of the Betfair market at 11-8.

"Connections' fears about heavyground for Duke Of Marmalade have been well documented and, even at his current drifting odds of 6-4, his price may not have peaked just yet.

"With racing only 1-2 to get the go ahead though, let's just hope punters have the opportunity to see the superstars lock horns again tomorrow."

Bolger believes New Approach is ready to bounce back to his very best, with a slight setback after the Derby meaning he was not seen in racecourse action for well over two months before the run at Newmarket.                                                                                         
Bolger said in the immediate aftermath of that race he hoped to have his stable star more relaxed for his next appearance and he is confident the colt is ready to do himself justice.

"The ground looks like it will be testing and while it is not too much of a worry, we wouldn't want it to be too bad," said the Coolcullen handler.

"Obviously he was very fresh atNewmarket but I think we have sorted that out."

"He is in great form and it looks like there is going to be something in there to make it a decent pace which we are happy about."

Bolger would not go into race tactics but added: "We will see - I think we are ready anyway."

Multidimensional's two biggest wins have been in softer conditions but connections would not want to see the Leopardstown ground deteriorate to the mire at Haydock where he managed his latest success last month.

Henry Cecil's five-year-old enjoyed a welcome triumph in the toteswinger Rose of Lancaster Stakes, providing compensation for his unfortunate neck defeat to Macarthur in Royal Ascot's Hardwicke Stakes.

"He has travelled over and appears to be in good shape," reported Alan Cooper, racing manager to Multidimensional's owner the Niarchos Family.

"He has been working well and is a Group Two winner (in the 2006 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano) and a Group 3 winner, now we hope we can make him a Group 1 winner. We would be expecting a good run."

Cooper continued: "He did win on heavy ground at Haydock but he was not at his best that day. It was appalling ground and he couldn't let himself down on it.

"I got a going report from Leopardstown in the morning which was good to yielding, but we will have to wait and see what happens there."


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