Sole seeking Sprint success
Sole Power bids to cap an amazing campaign by adding the Betfred Sprint Cup to his impressive record at Haydock on Saturday.
The seven-year-old has dominated the five-furlong division this season, mopping up the King's Stand and the Nunthorpe, but gets a great chance to notch a Group One over six furlongs as his stablemate Slade Power, winner of the Diamond Jubilee and July Cup, has been forced to miss the race.
Sole Power has yet to win over six furlongs, although he has run creditably in his few efforts at the trip, notably when second in the Hong Kong Sprint behind Lord Kanaloa in December.
The key to Sole Power staying the extra furlong will be whether he settles and while trainer Eddie Lynam accepts he is better over the minimum distance, he does believe he can stay the six.
"The ground seems OK. He's drawn in the middle (nine), which doesn't seem a bad draw, and he's in good form. We're hopeful of the best," said the County Meath handler.
"He needs to settle and you wouldn't need to be too bright to realise he's probably better over five, but I believe he'll get six and we're going to let him take his chance as he seems in very good form. It's the last Group One sprint over in England, so we're having a shot at it."
Paddy Power, son of Sole Power's owner Sabena Power, is also of the opinion that six furlongs is within his compass.
He said: "It's a shame Slade Power couldn't make it, but we'll let him do his talking in Australia and the fastest horse in the world isn't a bad super-sub. Some pundits reckon he's better over five furlongs, but he would have won the Hong Kong Sprint over six if he hadn't met a monster horse."
Extortionist was only half a length behind Sole Power when third in the Nunthorpe and, like the winner, he has yet to score over six furlongs.
"He's very well. We'd always wondered about going six with him and Ryan (Moore) came back after the Nunthorpe saying we definitely want to go six and now's the time," said his trainer Olly Stevens.
"He didn't look out of place in that company last time. We're very happy going there, but of course it will be a tough race, it's a Group One. The more the ground dries up the better. He's a horse that needs a bit of luck in running as he comes from behind. He's not had that luck in his last couple of runs. Hopefully his luck will change and we're very excited about running."
Clive Cox supplemented Es Que Love with the ground drying out for the five-year-old, who landed his first success in 15 months in the Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.
"That was his first Group Two success in the Lennox so I very much hope that he's one of those sprinters who is only just coming to himself now, as Sole Power really seems to have done and a few others," said the Lambourn handler.
"He's in great heart and I've been really pleased with him at home. I think it's a combination of knowing he's at his best on fast ground and sending him back sprinting which has served him well. He ran a blinder over six in the Hackwood at Newbury, wasn't disgraced over five in the King's Stand and won a Group Two over seven, so he's very versatile. He's run well at Haydock before, he actually beat Lethal Force there.
"I'm grateful to the owners that they saw fit to invest some of their prize money from Goodwood and have a crack. A lot of thought has gone into it (supplementing)."
Henry Candy saddles both Music Master and Dinkum Diamond, but reckons Sole Power is the one to beat.
"I suppose it's in our favour that Due Diligence isn't running, but I would think Eddie Lynam's is a certainty on this season's form. Our two are in good form. Dinkum Diamond probably isn't good enough but they are in there so we'll see how they go," said the Wantage handler.