irish top sprint stars
BRILLIANT sprinter Sole Power and defending champion Gordon Lord Byron star among a maximum field of 17 runners in the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock on Saturday.
Eddie Lynam's Sole Power has already struck twice at the highest level this season, turning in devastating displays in the King's Stand at Royal Ascot and the Nunthorpe at York to confirm himself top of the tree in the five-furlong division.
However, the seven-year-old steps up to six furlongs for the first time this year on Merseyside this weekend, a distance over which he has never previously won.
Fellow Irish raider Gordon Lord Byron was a hugely impressive winner of the Group One contest 12 months ago for Tom Hogan and returns as a major contender following a narrow reverse on his return from a break at the Curragh recently.
Hogan said: "Gordon Lord Byron is in great form. He needed the run (at the Curragh) and it has really brought him on.
"He has done very well since and would be somewhere around the same condition as he was before he won this race last year.
"His work rider even thinks that he has got better."
Wayne Lordan, who has ridden Gordon Lord Byron on six previous occasions, winning three times, gets back on board on Saturday.
Sole Power and Gordon Lord Byron are joined on the trip across the Irish Sea by Aidan O'Brien's Cougar Mountain and Evanna McCutcheon's stable star Maarek.
Henry Candy runs Hackwood Stakes winner Music Master, as well as Dinkum Diamond, while Dean Ivory's July Cup runner-up Tropics enters calculations following his Listed-race win at Newmarket a fortnight ago.
Sretaw is likely to head to Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend after she ended a run of six seconds with a notable victory at the Curragh on Sunday. The five-year-old mare finally got the success she deserved in the Irish Cambridgeshire, beating Vastonea by half a length, and trainer Gavin Cromwell now has his sights on more rich pickings.
"Everything's good. It's great she got her head in front after being second so many times," said the County Meath handler.
"She's entered in the seven-furlong premier handicap (Irish Stallion Farms EBF 'Northfields' Handicap) at Leopardstown on Champions weekend, so that's where we're aiming."
Delighted owner Eamon Waters will be hoping the Sretaw fairytale can continue.
He said after the weekend victory: "I bred her and bought the mare for small money.
"It's nearly like a dream and I'm afraid I'll wake up."