Dubai: It was heartbreak for Dubai’s Godolphin as Irish veterans Jim Bolger and Kevin Manning teamed up to steal what was a momentous victory in the 2000 Guineas (Group 1) at Newmarket Racecourse with 16-1 outsider Poetic Flare.
There may not have been any audience in attendance at British racing’s headquarters on day one of the Guineas meeting but there is no doubt that pulses were racing around the world for the absolute thriller that the first Classic of 2021 served up on Saturday.
The race was expected to be a match-up between the mighty Godolphin stable and Ireland’s all-powerful Coolmore team, who accounted for six of the 14 runners in the contest, but 79-year-old Bolger and his long-serving 54-year-old jockey Manning had other ideas.
Eight years on after their success with the Godolphin-owned Dawn Approach, Bolger and Manning plotted another fabulous victory that came at the cost of the aforementioned stable’s Master Of The Seas.
And only just, with the winner prevailing by a short head, while Lucky Vega ran a blinder to finish a neck behind in third.
William Buick, who was looking for a third success on the day, appeared to have the race won approaching the final 50 metres before Manning found that little extra aboard Poetic Flare who won by the bob of a head at the finish.
Manning told ITV Racing: “It’s a great training performance. He’s done nothing wrong all along this horse, he was impressive in his trial at Leopardstown and he’d come forward from that. I really fancied him. He’s just a proper horse. I really thought whatever beat him might win. He’s a pleasure to ride, he’s bomb proof.
“These are the races that everybody wants to win and they are so had to win. To win it a second time is just fantastic. These are the races the ones that make the long days and the hard work rewarding.”
Mutasaabeq, representing Shadwell Racing had been fancied to score a sentimental victory for the late Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the former Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, but could not match his rivals for speed and had to settle for seventh place.
Meanwhile, none of the strongly fancied Irish raiders led by Battlefield and Thunder Moon were involved in the finish and were surprisingly well beaten.