Jim Bolger enjoyed another major coup for his racing and breeding operation when Trading Leather won the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) June 29 as Epsom Derby (Eng-I) winner Ruler of The World dramatically fizzled.
Trading Leather was bred and is owned by Bolger and his wife, Jackie, and Bolger also trains the Teofilo colt, who pushed past front-runner Cap O'Rushes to lead with just over a furlong to run. He stayed on to comfortably to hold back Epsom Derby third-place finisher Galileo Rock and win the Curragh classic by 1 3/4 lengths.
Festive Cheer, at 33-1 odds, powered from last to take third in the nine-horse field while stablemate Ruler of The World and Epsom Derby runner-up Libertarian disappointed in respective fifth and eighth-place finishes.
Ruler of The World was attempting to follow his impressive 1 1/2-length win in the Epsom Derby June 1 and was sent off a 4-5 favorite with Racing Post in the Irish Derby. His trainer, Aidan O'Brien, was seeking an 11th victory in the race and eighth in succession.
Ruler of The World raced at the back of the field with stablemate Festive Cheer and advanced into contention in the straight but had too much work to do to be a serious challenger.
Trading Leather relaxed in midfield early as Ralston Road set a strong pace pursued by Cap O'Rushes, who took charge three furlongs out. He eagerly responded when asked to power past Cap O'Rushes, then finished strongly.
Trading Leather was timed in 2:27.17 for 1 1/2 miles under Kevin Manning, Bolger's son-in-law. Manning enjoyed his first victory in the Irish Derby while Bolger celebrated his first since St. Jovite's 12-length triumph in record time 21 years ago in 1992.
Trading Leather was third to Magician in the Irish Two Thousand Guineas (Ire-I) May 25 after finishing second to Libertarian in the Betfred Dante Stakes (Eng-II) nine days earlier at York in his 2013 debut. He entered the Irish Derby off a 3 1/2-length win over Lines of Battle in the 1 1/4-mile TRM Silver Stakes June 9 at the Curragh. His record stands at four wins from eight career starts, including the Autumn Stakes (Eng-III) at Newmarket as a 2-year-old.
"It doesn't get much better than this," Bolger said after the Irish Derby. "He is not easy at home; he takes a lot of riding and keeping under control. I can't credit my staff enough.
"We were very pleased with his Dante run, his first run of the year, and he hadn't a great run up to that. We knew he'd improve a lot and (when he was third in the Irish Guineas), we got side-tracked, but we had this race in mind all along."
Trading Leather is a stablemate of Bolger-bred and Godolphin-owned Dawn Approach, winner of this season's QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas (Eng-I), who pulled hard and failed to stay in a last-place finish behind Ruler of The World in the Epsom Derby. Bolger gained a measure of redemption in the Irish Derby as the top three finishers at Epsom could only chase home Trading Leather.
Based in Coolcullen, County Kilkenny, Bolger bred Trading Leather out of the unraced Sinndar mare Night Visit. Second dam Moonlight Sail is a full sister to United States champion turf mare and English classic winner Hatoof and U.S. grade I winner Irish Prize. The family also includes English champion and French classic winner Mrs. Penny.
Trading Leather is the third top-level winner for Darley sire Teofilo, who also was bred, owned, and trained by Bolger. Teofilo has 16 stakes winners and 26 stakes horses from his first two crops.)