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Cleary has no doubts about Derby trip for Irish 2,000 Guineas star Mac Swiney

Mac Swiney and Rory Cleary return after their victory in the Irish 2,000 Guineas
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It is a double that has not been completed since the great Grundy in 1975 but Rory Cleary – the man who steered Mac Swiney to Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas glory – has no stamina concerns for Jim Bolger's leading Cazoo Derby hope, paying tribute to the Epsom contender's game attitude.

Bolger came close to pulling off the Curragh-Epsom double in 2008 when New Approach finished second to Henrythenavigator on home soil before providing the Coolcullen trainer with his first win in the Derby, while Dubawi (2005) and Barathea (1993) finished third and fifth at Epsom after striking at the Curragh.


4.30 Epsom Saturday: Cazoo Derby card and betting


Among others to have attempted the double since Grundy, Secreto (1984) was third in the opening Classic of the Irish calendar before landing the Epsom highlight.

It has been ten months since Una Manning described last season's Vertem Futurity Trophy winner as her father's 2021 Derby horse following a Curragh maiden win, and the star colt remains firmly on track for Saturday's £1.125 million prize – one of 19 still in the mix after Monday's forfeit stage.

Rory Cleary on Mac Swiney: "He's got the right attitude and the ability, which is a big help"

Speaking on the Racing Post's Racing Riot podcast, Cleary said: "You saw the way he raced at the Curragh, he's just a very simple and easy-to-ride horse. He covers the ground and settles really well.

"The further he was going, the better he was going to the line so I have no doubts he'll stay the bit further. He's got the right attitude and the ability, which is a big help."

He added of the 11-2 third favourite: "From his work and everything at home, I think the Derby Trial was the race [Jim] had always planned for Mac Swiney. He ran a bit disappointing at Leopardstown but had his excuses after – he had a slight nasal discharge – and he didn't want to go to the Derby at Epsom on such a poor run.

"He ran him with Poetic Flare at the Curragh to make sure he was back to himself and he was, if not better. He obviously beat Poetic Flare, who we hold in high regard, and they're both very smart horses. For me, it was a great decision for him to run them."

Poetic Flare (right): showed tremendous toughness to finish a close second in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas after travelling to France the previous weekend

Cleary, who was riding his second winner of the season when Mac Swiney struck at the Curragh, said he was slightly anxious when learning he was set to ride the now dual Group 1-winning miler last time, with Kevin Manning maintaining his partnership with stablemate Poetic Flare.

"I was quietly nervous about having to ride him because we hold him in high regard at home," said the 33-year-old.

"Kevin rode him work earlier in the week before the Guineas and he went really well. He said it'd be hard to split the two of them and was right. I was quietly nervous because I haven't had that many rides in Group 1 races, let alone a ride that actually had a chance in a race like that."

'He knows the pedigrees inside out'

He added: "To be fair to the boss, he never thought about looking elsewhere and never second guessed putting me on him, which is unbelievable. There aren't many trainers with his loyalty and he's proven that over the years. He doesn't use anyone else outside the yard unless he really has to."

Asked to outline what makes Bolger so special as a trainer, Cleary said: "It's special that he breeds so many of his own horses and he's very hands on with them from day one. It's brilliant the way he brings them on, he knows the pedigrees inside out from the dams and sires, and he knows how to train them."


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You saw the way he raced at the Curragh, he's just a very simple and easy-to-ride horse. He covers the ground and settles really well
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