Jim Bolger
(Alan Crowhurst/Getty)

Irish trainer Jim Bolger is at the centre of a major controversy in the lead-up to Saturday’s English Derby following a major turnaround which has resulted in his star colt New Approach becoming a certain starter. The decision came after Jim Bolger had consistently ruled New Approach out of the race, leading bookmakers to quote him at more than 200-1 for Europe’s senior classic.

The colt, the champion two-year-old of last season, is now a 5-1 chance, having been the favourite for the race six weeks ago. Only favourite Casual Conquest and Curtain Call are listed at shorter odds than New Approach who is owned by Princess Haya, the wife of Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum. Official permission to run the colt was passed on by Sheikh Mohammed’s bloodstock advisor John Ferguson.

“We are leaving New Approach in the Derby, and if the ground is good or on the soft side of good, he will run,” Jim Bolger told the UK’s Racingpost.

Bolger said the decision to run was totally his idea and apologised for what may have been interpreted as earlier, misleading statements.

“I live in a changing world and I feel sorry for people who can’t cope with minor changes in life.” New Approach has finished second to Henrythenavigator in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas.