Lynam duo fall to Lethal display
Eddie Lynam's pair Sole Power and Slade Power did the County Meath trainer proud in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket but they were ultimately no match for Lethal Force, who confirmed himself the leading sprinter in Europe.
Adam Kirby blazed up the stands rail on the Clive Cox-trained grey (9-2) with Slade Power never far away and Sole Power held up for his usual late challenge, but the writing was on the wall when the leader kicked away inside the final two furlongs.
Winner of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, Lethal Force again proved too good for closest pursuer Society Rock, this time by a length and a half, with a further three-quarters of a length to Slade Power in third. Shea Shea and Sole Power were another neck and a head away, with Aidan O'Brien's Gale Force Ten in sixth.
While conditions were as conducive as they ever would be for a fast time, a measure of Lethal Force's standing can be seen by the fact that he covered the six furlongs in 1.09.11 - some four-tenths of a second quicker than European champion sprinter Stravinsky managed back in 1999.
Kirby, who picked up a four-day whip ban on a day when he received a total of eight days, said of the winner: "He's fast. I jumped out, got into a beautiful rhythm and things went nicely to plan, but he had no concentration just after the two pole. When I gave him a smack he jinked, he nearly slipped, he wasn't expecting it. But he was very good."
Cox added: "I'm so proud of him. Even when he won at Royal Ascot they said he was lucky and it was a good ride, but I think he's confirmed today he's pretty good. There might be a few doubters silenced now. I'm thrilled for everyone back home.
"He came back from Ascot really well and he was cherry-ripe today. Physically he has matured, and strengthening from three to four has been the key. To break the track record is brilliant.
"I was a bit worried about the undulations, but he put that to bed really well. Adam said if anything he was idling a bit in front. He gave him a smack and the result was clear.
"He'll tell us how he comes back from here. We've got lots of nice options. He's a seven-furlong Group Two winner, so the Maurice de Gheest is possible (over six and a half furlongs at Deauville) and beyond that we've had lots of kind invitations from as far afield as Australia and Hong Kong. We'll just take it a step at a time."