Trainer Bolger bidding for Ulster Derby treble
Trainer Jim Bolger bids to complete a hat-trick in today's Ulster Derby at Down Royal with huge crowds expected to bask in the summer heatwave.
Having won the £100,000 feature for the past two years, Change Of Velocity represents the Coolcullen trainer in today's race and like last year's winner, Stellar Mass, is owned by the Godolphin operation - enjoying a fine week at Royal Ascot - and is partnered by Kevin Manning, son-in-law of the trainer.
The selection opened his account last time at Gowran and the lightly raced son of Teofilo is open to further improvement.
The mass entries from Aidan O'Brien failed to materialise so the dead eight have been declared, so hopefully there will be no defections to allow full each way betting.
Dermot Weld is another to have won the feature several times and relies on the twice raced Sheberghan - owned by His Highness the Aga Khan.
Armagh trainer Adrian McAllister supplies a rare local runner in the big race with the aptly named, Well Why Not - the winner of her last two starts and would be a popular winner for the young trainer.
Jessica Harrington's team has been in blistering form but her runner was second to Remmy D trained by Joseph O'Brien last time.
The Master of Coolcullen, who has produced numerous top jockeys and future trainers including Tony McCoy and Aidan O'Brien, along with an array of the highest class horses, can complete the hat-trick.
Abstraction was contesting group races and the drop in company can allow the local horse to regain winning ways in the sprint if accounting for Nigg Bay and Soffia.
Caledon trainer Andy Oliver has a trio engaged in the opening two-year-old race with Elusive Fantasy possibly best. The Marcus Callaghan pair, Lady Baroness and Rangefield Express along with Rest Bay are others to consider.
Handsome Maverick, Goodnight Irina, Admiralty, along with the locally trained Duncan Of Scotland, form the short list in the six-furlong sprint.
The hat-trick seeking Beach Weeding, Mazzuri, Kalaxana and Active Approach make most appeal in the Ulster Oaks and the last named could supply Bolger with a big race double.
Mademoiselle Penny is taken to account for Acari, Vocal Resurgence and Faraday's Law in a wide open Down Royal handicap. Elysian Plains can claim the finale with Manzil and Daly An Sceil the dangers.
Ulster Derby: FORECAST 1st Change Of Velocity 2nd Sheberghan 3rd Well Why Not; 1.55 Elusive Fantasy; 2.25 Abstraction; 3.00 Admiralty; 3.35 Change Of Velocity; 4.15 Active Approach ; 4.55 Mademoiselle Penny; 5.30 Elysian Plains
• It is rare for Aidan O'Brien to be heading into a race as an underdog but that is the case in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, where Idaho takes on Crystal Ocean.
The five-year-old son of Galileo has been a real globetrotter and appears to have taken over the mantle of his brother, Highland Reel, who represented Ballydoyle so admirably.
Idaho brought to a halt a run of three straight Hardwicke triumphs for Crystal Ocean's trainer Sir Michael Stoute when he claimed the race 12 months ago.
Stoute fielded the favourite last year in Dartmouth but St Leger runner-up Crystal Ocean is even shorter in the betting, having easily won his two starts this term for the Newmarket handler.
Idaho this season claimed the Ormonde Stakes at Chester but was then bogged down in the Coronation Cup at Epsom.
O'Brien said: "He's in good form and he won well at Chester. He very rarely runs a bad race. He doesn't always win, but he is consistent enough."