Sunday 17 December 2017

Eddie has balance of Power

No surprise if Lynam's charge Sole scores rare sprint double in intriguing Nunthorpe

IN the last 20 years only two horses have managed to win the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in the same season.

But in his search for a second win in the Nunthorpe tomorrow, Eddie Lynam's Sole Power will be looking to complete the big sprint double in the one year.

The third day of the York Ebor meeting has attracted some notable Irish interest, but it is Lynam's horsebox that will cross the Irish Sea from his Dunshaughlin base and carry the best of the Irish chances with Slade Power joining Sole Power in the Nunthorpe.

Sole Power won this race as a 100/1 shot as a three-year-old and has proved to be one of the leading sprinters around since then. As he is just six years old, he appears to have many more good days ahead of him.

It is the four-year-old Slade Power, however, who emerges from the same quarters and, like Sole Power, is owned by Sabena Power, who carries the real intrigue in the race.

Officially, only a pound separates the two on the handicapper's ratings, and there is no doubt that Slade Power has been going from strength to strength in these ranks. This will be his first tilt at Group One level over five furlongs having previously ran with credit to finish third in the July Cup over six last month.

Despite finishing second at Royal Ascot behind Sole Power, the margin was only a quarter of a length and the bookmakers are expecting Mike De Kock's Shea Shea to reverse that form on this occasion as he is the 3/1 favourite for the race, with Frankie Dettori looking for his biggest success in the saddle since returning from his drug ban and his split with Godolphin.

Sole Power is next best in the betting at 4/1 with the bookies taking no chances on Slade Power, who is a general 10/1 chance.

As well as two high-class sprinters, Lynam also has the services of two of the best jockeys around. The still all-conquering Johnny Murtagh has surprised many doubters this season by continually riding big winners in Britain and will restore his association with Sole Power, while Wayne Lordan, who, ironically, won the race on Sole Power three years ago, is now the regular partner of Slade Power.

The race also features two-time winner Borderlescott, who won the race in 2008 and 2009, while the 2007 winner Kingsgate Native also lines up having won the race as a two-year-old.

In this feature, the Irish are double-handed with all the weight of responsibility on Lynam's shoulders, but Lynam and Sole Power have carried that weight of expectation before and it would be no surprise if he obliged once again.

Tomorrow's York card also features the Group Two Lonsdale Cup, in which just seven line up including the Willie Mullins-trained Simenon.

An unlucky loser at Chester back in May and then a runner-up over the 2m4f of the Ascot Gold Cup, Mullins' charge appears to set the standard here and this is another race in which Murtagh will have a massive say.

But it would be wrong not to mention the Ger Lyons runner Machete Mark, who ran a blinder when only beaten three lengths at Royal Ascot in the Britannia Stakes and was then second back at Ascot last month and third at Leopardstown on his most recent start.

His consistency warrants a big run tomorrow.

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