Power burst secures glory
Sole Power's devastating acceleration came to the fore once again as the brilliant sprinter secured back-to-back victories in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The seven-year-old was delivered to take the five-furlong Group One right on the line by Johnny Murtagh in a pulsating finish 12 months ago and Richard Hughes was the man in the saddle this time around, partnering Eddie Lynam's speedball for the first time.
Hughes rode a typically patient race and it was clear Sole Power (5-1) was still full of running entering the closing stages. Once unleashed on the far side of the track, the response was immediate as he quickened up fantastically to run to the lead and settle matters in a few strides.
Front-running outsider Stepper Point was a length-and-a-quarter away in second, with heavily-supported favourite Hot Streak a neck further back in third.
With Murtagh now retired and Ryan Moore, who has ridden Sole Power on his first three starts this year, required for Aidan O'Brien, Lynam moved to snap up the services of Hughes earlier this week.
The winner was among the leading contenders having shown his well-being with victory in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket in early May, but few could have expected such an authoritative victory. Hughes deliberately took his mount back when the stalls opened and appeared confident he had all bases covered at all times.
His potent turn of foot took him clear in the final strides and he was ultimately well on top at the line.
Stepper Point (50-1) showed blistering pace from the off and turned in an excellent effort. Hot Streak looked a three-year-old destined for the top of the sprinting ranks when taking the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month and although he came up short, Kevin Ryan's pride and joy was far from disgraced and there will be another day for the youngster.
Hughes said: "I'm glad Johnny Murtagh retired as he's been giving this horse great rides all his life! I spoke at length with him about how to ride him and he said he'd be made for me. Things didn't all go right as I had to pull to the outside which you normally don't like doing, but I had that much horse under me I could have gone around them anywhere.
"He was the best horse, it's as simple as that, I had loads of room, I was about eight lengths off the pace at halfway and he was just waiting for me to press the button."
Lynam said: "He was the best horse in the race, experience has won him it. This horse has been lucky because he's never had a well-known trainer but he's always had a top-class jockey. That was his 17th run in a Group One and he'll have his 18th on Saturday (in the Diamond Jubilee)."