Yorkshire Jockeys Horse Racing

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YORK has been a happy hunting ground for Jim Bolger throughout his long and successful training career and the master of Coolcullen will be out to plunder another major prize on the Knavesmire when Mac Swiney lines up in Wednesday’s Group One, the Juddmonte International.

Forty years have passed since Condessa provided Bolger with his first British Group-race success in the 1981 Yorkshire Oaks. He has since taken out the Darley-sponsored contest on two further occasions, saddling Lush Lashes to victory in 2008 before Pleascach landed the spoils in 2015.

Bolger has yet to win the £1 million Juddmonte International – the feature race on the opening day of the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival – but he believes Mac Swiney is flying under the radar ahead of his latest assignment.

A dual Group 1 winner, including the Irish 2,000 Guineas in May, the high-class three-year-old was last seen contesting the Irish Derby on 26 June.

Bolger said: “I won’t be underestimating him, anyway. He’s a very good do-er, so he doesn’t get a lot of time out. In any case, he’s very well, so I’m happy with him.

“We’re hopeful that going back to a mile and a quarter will bring out the best in him.”

A 14/1 chance with Sky Bet, Mac Swiney is set to face six rivals. They include Mishriff for John and Thady Gosden, who finished runner-up to Adayar in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last month.

The Aidan O’Brien-trained Love ran third in that contest, and she will re-oppose on the Knavesmire having been declared for the Juddmonte International after her stable companion – antepost favourite St Mark’s Basilica – was ruled out at the eleventh hour.

“As usual, it’s a hot race,” Bolger continued. “York has been a lucky track for me and I’m hoping that the luck will stay with us.”

Wednesday’s card brings the curtain up on four fabulous days of racing on the Knavesmire. The card also features the Sky Bet Great Voltigeur Stakes, a £150,000 Group 2 that promises to unlock Classic clues ahead of next month’s Cazoo St Leger.

A select field of eight runners has been declared for that contest, while five exciting juveniles are set to go to post in the Tattersalls Acomb Stakes.

The first of fourteen contests to offer a six-figure purse over the four days, the £100,000 Group 3 has been taken by subsequent Group 1 winners Gear Up and Phoenix Of Spain in recent seasons, with this year’s renewal likely to unearth another top prospect.

The Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival runs from Wednesday 18 August until Saturday 21 August inclusively.

For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk