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Jim, Kevin And The Age Of Brilliance

by Jimmy Rhatigan

It’s not how old you are, it’s how you are old.
The quote from a learned gentleman of another time came to mind immediately after two great warriors had put their combined 134 years to great use in what is proverbially The Sport of Kings.
To most of us the weekend 2,000 Guineas win by 54 year old jockey Kevin Manning and trainer Kilkenny man Jim Bolger, aged 79, was a feat of gargantuan proportion.
To the Master of Cool, as a DVD describes the Coolcullen, Kilkenny trainer and breeder and his son-in-law jockey Kevin Manning, it was perhaps all in a day’s work.
Completing the trio that made horse racing history was a brilliant son of Dawn Approach called Poetic Flare that really lit up Newmarket with a brilliant finish at a tasty 16/1.
The winner is owned by Jim’s wife Jackie and is the second classic winner for the maestro who won the Derby with New Approach.
The victory is a huge landmark in the wonderful life and times of the extended Bolger family that continues to do our county and country so proud in Ireland and on the international horse-racing circuit.
The win is proof positive that experience is an asset no matter what your ambitions.
While many of Jim Bolger’s age may be content with pipe and slippers and maybe a rocking horse (make that chair), the bold Jim, a man mighty, will enjoy many more years in the profession he obviously loves.
Following fabulously in his footsteps is Kevin Manning who is wed to Jim’s daughter Una.
A magnificent jockey, Kevin is second only in a major classic achievement to the legendary Lester Piggott who won a classic in the saddle at the age of 56.
Piggott’s ride in the Guineas was on Rodrigo De Triano was in 1992.
In toasting our great warriors of horse racing, we are happy to recall the marvellous quotation from Pierre-Jules Renard (1864-1910, a French author and member of the Académie Goncourt.
He was most famous for the works of Poil de Carotte (Carrot Top, 1894) and Les Histoires Naturelles (Nature Stories, 1896).
Sadly, he did not reach what might be called a good age as he passed away in 1910, aged 46.
Meanwhile as Coolcullen continues to celebrate a Herculean achievement, perhaps the time is right to enjoy the true story of racing giant, Jim Bolger, Master of Cool, directed by Garry Keane.
Jim, Kevin and Poetic Flare, what a trinity of talent.
A date for your diary is December 25, 2021 when Jim Bolger will, please God celebrate his 80th birthday with Santa Claus.

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