At 53, Kevin Manning has been going a lot longer than the men with whom he shares the weigh rooms of Ireland but the suggestion of retirement gets short shrift just the same. “It feels no different to me now than it did 25 years ago,” Manning said on Friday, after a session in the sauna followed by a run.
He may be the envy of his younger colleagues on Saturday evening, when he partners Fiscal Rules (7.15) in the Irish Derby for his long-time employer Jim Bolger, also his father‑in-law. Both men described it as the crowning moment of their careers when they won this race seven years ago with Trading Leather but they have a fine chance to do so again with this lightly raced colt, a running-on fifth behind Siskin in the Guineas a fortnight ago.
Beaten a head by Wichita on his only previous start, Fiscal Rules appeals at 7-1 against Santiago, who raced just last week at Ascot and meets a much drier surface this time. “I’m hopeful,” says the reserved Manning. “It’d be fantastic to do it again.
“It mightn’t look the highest-quality race but there’s no easy Derby. They always take plenty of winning.”
Manning would become the oldest winning jockey in the modern history of the Irish Derby. The post-war record is held by Morny Wing, who was 49 when achieving his sixth success in the race, aboard Bright News in 1946.
Viewers in Britain can see the Irish Derby through RacingTV, while ITV will screen a busy afternoon’s action.
1.50 Newcastle It’s three years since Major Jumbo last tried this surface but he remains one of just two course winners in the field for the Chipchase and has made a lot of progress on turf since then. Kevin Ryan’s grey did well to be third in the Palace House on his return.
2.05 Newmarket Boccaccio is likely to be a warm order but his rating looks stiff enough. Raatea is not so well related but he put in a good performance to land a Kempton maiden a fortnight ago, looking as though his winter break and a gelding operation had helped.
2.25 Newcastle Only a couple of pounds higher than when he scored here in January, Venturous could be a lively outsider. He improved for his reappearance when second at Haydock on Wednesday and the chestnut could get a good tow into this race from his 11 rivals.
2.40 Newmarket The form book suggests that Mubtasim is the better of Charlie Appleby’s two runners in this Criterion but the year-younger On The Warpath is open to greater improvement, having been seen just once in the past 13 months. He showed plenty of pace to beat Summerghand by three lengths here on his most recent outing in England.
3.00 Newcastle Three-year-olds have been regular winners of the Hoppings Stakes and Virgin Snow, the only runner of that age, is interesting. She is the second foal out of the dual Oaks winner Snow Fairy and her Haydock win recently showed she is improving as one would expect for time and distance.
3.15 Newmarket Gelded over the winter, Volkan Star made a promising comeback second at this level three weeks ago. He is going to improve for another quarter-mile but this looks within his compass.
3.35 Newcastle It’s a pity to see the Northumberland Plate run for £24,000, half what Carnwennan received for winning the consolation race last year. But a strong field has assembled just the same and Australis looks the pick of them. An impressive specimen, Roger Varian’s four-year-old has plenty more to offer at this distance, judging by the way he powered through the line at Wolverhampton three weeks ago. Caravan Of Hope had travelled more strongly but could not live with Australis at the end and it may be a similar story here.