Veteran trainer Jim Bolger has declared Poetic Flare the “most complete racehorse” he’s ever trained and his stable star can vindicate that high praise when he chases a third Group One victory in Wednesday’s Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
The three-year-old colt has come along in leaps and bounds this year, winning three of his five races, including two at the top level.
Poetic Flare scraped home in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket in May but it was a brilliant display in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot where he really made his mark.
On that occasion, the son of Dawn Approach gave his rivals windburn, coming away to win by four-and-a-half lengths, beating the likes of Lucky Vega and Battleground.
Those two races were run over a mile and Poetic Flare remains at that same trip for another top-level assignment and Bolger is confident he is ready to take on the older horses.
“He’s the most complete racehorse I’ve ever trained, the complete package. You couldn’t find fault with him,” the Irish handler said.
“I’ve never had one that has taken everything he has taken. I would have been happy with any type of win [at Royal Ascot]. But I really did expect a performance like that.
“Now I am looking forward to him taking on older horses.”
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Poetic Flare is considered an odds-on hope in overseas fixed-odds markets with the Richard Hannon-trained Snow Lantern considered his biggest danger.
It is somewhat of a surprise to see the three-year-old filly take on the boys rather than tackle the Nassau Stakes for her own sex on Thursday.
But Hannon has decided he doesn’t want to step up in distance just yet given his filly was terrific winning the Group One Falmouth Stakes over this trip at Newmarket earlier this month.
“She’s staying at a mile for now. It looks like it’s going to be soft ground, which she proved she can go on at Royal Ascot, and the owners want to go there,” he said.
“It looks like being a very good race and so it should be, we’ll go there, try our best and see how we get on.
“It’s a good race with a lot of horses that could win it and I think we’re one of those. She hasn’t done much since her last run but we were obviously very happy with her at Newmarket.”
The race Hannon referenced at Royal Ascot – the Group One Coronation Stakes – showed Snow Lantern can handle the sting out of the ground, but the horse she finished second to that day, Alcohol Free, will also line up on Thursday.
Andrew Balding’s filly prevailed on that occasion but Snow Lantern turned the tables at Newmarket last start. So in a way, this is the rubber match and Alcohol Free’s trainer is confident she can take the honours.
“I’m thrilled with Alcohol Free and she won’t mind what the ground is. She’s a high-class filly and I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.
“The turning track seemed to suit her really well when she won at Royal Ascot, so I think Goodwood will suit her really well.
“At Newmarket in the Falmouth it wasn’t the plan to make the running, and she rather set it up for the others. Hopefully if there’s some sort of pace to aim at she’s got a fairly electric turn of foot. I’m really excited about her.”
The Sussex is the feature on eight-race card, which will be simulcast by the Jockey Club and the World Pool.