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Another Jim Bolger breeding masterclass as Poetic Flare lands 2,000 Guineas

The Classic winner is a son of the previously unheralded Dawn Approach

Jim Bolger: breeder and trainer of 2,000 Guineas hero Poetic Flare
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When it comes to breeding racehorses, the power of perseverance should never be underestimated.

That point was illustrated again to glorious effect on Saturday when Jim Bolger, a breeder and trainer more perseverant than most, landed his second 2,000 Guineas with the homebred Poetic Flare - fittingly a son of the horse who supplied his first victory in the Newmarket Classic in Dawn Approach.

The master of Coolcullen's influence runs deep through Poetic Flare's pedigree, having also bred and trained the winner's sire and dam too. Dawn Approach hails from the debut crop of another Bolger success story in New Approach, a son of Galileo who was bought by the trainer from Lodge Park Stud at a cost of €430,000 in 2006.

Bolger sent New Approach out to record victories in five Group 1s, most notably the Derby and Champion Stakes before he took up residence at Darley's Dalham Hall Stud in 2009.

Poetic Flare and jockey Kevin Manning after victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket
Among his debut book was Bolger's Phone Trick mare Hymn Of The Dawn, whose three winners are headed by Dawn Approach. An unbeaten champion two-year-old who won the Coventry, National and Dewhurst Stakes, Dawn Approach landed Classic laurels when he stormed five lengths clear of Glory Awaits in the 2013 running of the 2,000 Guineas.

Having refused to settle when upped in trip for the Derby, Bolger brought Dawn Approach back to a mile in the St James's Palace Stakes, a move that saw the colt land his fourth Group 1 prize.

When Dawn Approach retired to Darley's Kildangan Stud the following year he looked to have the world at his feet as he covered a book of 164 mares at a fee of €35,000. Among that debut book were 36 stakes winners, giving him a solid foundation of quality and quantity.

However, it would be fair to say things have not progressed as intended, as Poetic Flare is one of only three European Pattern race winners sired by Dawn Approach, who also left a trio of Group winners from his shuttle stints to the southern hemisphere.

Jim Bolger with Dawn Approach in 2012
Prior to Saturday's Classic the best horse Dawn Approach had sired was Madhmoon, fourth behind Magna Grecia in the 2,000 Guineas and runner-up, beaten just half a length, behind Anthony Van Dyck in the Derby. Madhmoon is currently standing his first season at Haras du Saz near Nantes.

Waning popularity among commercially minded breeders soon saw support for Dawn Approach dry up, and by 2020 his book contained just 32 mares. But all is not lost for the sire as he can still call upon the support of his most staunch ally, having made the switch to Bolger's own Redmondstown Stud to stand alongside Parish Hall and Vocalised for 2021.

Bolger has also been committed to Poetic Flare's female line since 1989, an endeavour that has yielded some spectacular results. Bolger's route into the family came through the Majestic Light filly Saviour, who was bred in the US by renowned Kentucky horseman Tom Gentry.

Under Bolger's tutelage the filly carried Gentry's silks to victories at Mallow, Dundalk and Killarney, but the charismatic owner had no interest in breeding from Saviour on account of her conformational defects so at the end of her racing days she was sold on to her trainer.

Jim and Jackie Bolger after Dawn Approach's victory in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot
Bolger bred three winners from Saviour, including three who gained black type. The most significant of the triumvirate was Speirbhean, a daughter of Danehill who won the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial and bred three Group winners of her own - most notably the unbeaten champion two-year-old Teofilo, now an important stallion in his own right responsible for 21 Group winners.

Another of Saviour's daughters is Elida, who in turn produced Poetic Flare's dam, Maria Lee, when bred to Rock Of Gibraltar - who recorded back-to-back broodmare sire successes in the 2,000 Guineas after Kameko's heroics last year.

Poetic Flare is one of four winners bred by Maria Lee, along with his closely related Zetland Stakes-winning sibling Glamorous Approach, a daughter of New Approach.

There is a somewhat ironic postscript to the story behind Bolger's breeding of Poetic Flare, however, as having persevered with his sire when many others had lost faith and having been curating the distaff side of the family since 1991, the trainer sold Maria Lee for €65,000 in November 2018 following the birth of the 2,000 Guineas hero.

Poetic Flare storms to Classic glory
The mare was signed for on behalf of Clarecastle Stud by Cormac McCormack and has since bred a brother to Poetic Flare, now two and named Frazil, a US Navy Flag half-sister, now a yearling, and produced a colt by Magna Grecia earlier this year.

Remarkably Poetic Flare is the third Group 1 winner Bolger bred in 2018, as he is also responsible for producing Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes scorer Mac Swiney and Criterium de Saint-Cloud victor Gear Up. That pair are by Glebe House alumni New Approach and Teofilo respectively.

Bolger's foal crop that year also yielded Group 3 Eyrefield Stakes winner Flying Visit and Round Tower Stakes scorer New Treasure.


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Remarkably Poetic Flare is the third Group 1 winner Bolger bred in 2018, as he is also responsible for producing Mac Swiney and Gear Up

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