09/08/2008 12:00AM

New Approach capitalizes on absence of 'Duke'


New Approach took advantage of the withdrawal of Duke of Marmalade to win the $1.42 million Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Sunday with a deceptively handy half-length score over what was decidedly a subpar field in one of Europe's premier 10-furlong events.

Trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning, New Approach defeated the 50-1 Traffic Guard while notching his first win since taking the Epsom Derby on June 7. His time for the 1 1/4 miles on ground rated yielding to soft in places, was 2:07.57.

Bolger said the 3-year-old New Approach will run twice more this year, choosing from among the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, the Champion Stakes, and the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Five-time Group 1 winner Duke of Marmalade, scratched because of the soft ground, is pointing to the Arc with the BC Classic a possibility after that.

* The Bolger-trained Lush Lashes is definitely bound for Santa Anita after her neck win over Nahoodh in the one-mile, $356,000 Matron Stakes.

The versatile Lush Lashes, who had won the 1 1/2-mile Yorkshire Oaks in her previous start, will use the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l'Opera on Oct. 5 as a prep for either the Breeders' Cup Mile or the BC Filly and Mare Turf.