Class act Sole Power can dig deep and see out Haydock trip
Back in the summer of 2009, I was down in Galway for a weekend away and I met an odd bloke outside a bookie shop who gave me a tip for a horse in a maiden at the Curragh that afternoon. When I asked him where he got the tip, he looked me in the eye and said “It came from the stars in the sky”.
It soon became clear that there was more than just Sweet Afton in the rolled up cigarette he was smoking and needless to say, I resisted the urge to follow his advice and I watched the race from the comfort of the pub without a docket in my hand.
As you might expect, his tip was as useful as an ashtray on a motorbike but another horse in the race caught the eye and went down in the notebook as one to watch in the future.
Sole Power was making his debut and was leading just over a furlong out - but was eventually headed by Walk On Bye and was beaten into third. Yet he shaped like a decent sprinter in the making and I always enjoy trying to spot a potential money-making horse early on in its career.
As readers will know, Sole Power has turned out to be a great animal to have on your side and although I can’t claim to have backed him in each of his 41 races since, those that did would have earned over €1,000 to a €10 stake.
While most of that profit is down to a 100/1 shock victory in the 2010 Nunthorpe, he has a place strike-rate of around 60pc and nearly always gives you a good run for your money.
Having won the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York and also the King’s Stand Stakes at Ascot this term, Sole Power is back in action for Haydock’s Betfred Sprint Cup (3.50) and although Eddie Lynam’s seven-year-old will most likely go off as favourite, I still reckon he’s worth backing at 3/1 or thereabouts considering the tremendous form he’s been in throughout the summer.
While it’s true to say that he’s a five furlong specialist, he’s often ran some good races over today’s six furlong trip and, when push comes to shove, I reckon his class will see him through.
He finished second at this distance to the extremely talented Japanese horse Lord Kanaloa at Sha Tin back in December and he wasn’t disgraced when just three lengths behind Lethal Force in the July Cup at Newmarket last year.
His turn of foot was most impressive in the King’s Stand Stakes and he also proved he can dig deep when he needs to when overcoming traffic problems to claim a fantastic victory at York last time.
Last year’s winner Gordon Lord Byron (9/2) is also highly respected, especially if the ground turns up a little soft. He was conceding weight all-round when beaten by a nose in a Group Three at the Curragh last time but Tom Hogan’s gelding has proved himself at the top a number of times.
The globetrotting six-year-old landed another Group One in Australia back in March and won’t be too far off.
JOCKEY Jack Garritty’s 5lb allowance proved useful on Simply Shining when the horse produced a career best to win a handicap at Newcastle recently.
The pair team up again for the Ritz Club Fillies’ Handicap (4.40 Ascot) and it’s my view that the handicapper has left the filly room for manoeuvre having raising her 3lbs to 76.
Roger Charlton’s Fray is likely to prove popular in the betting and is expected to go off in the region of 4/1 but that seems a little short in an open looking race.
With Garritty’s claim likely to come into play once again, the 12/1 about Richard Fahey’s charge makes plenty of appeal today.
3.15 Haydock: Nautilus
3.50 Haydock: Sole Power
4.10 Kempton: Home Of The Brave
4.40 Ascot: Simply Shining (e/w)
7.20 Wolverhampton: Rajeh
DO THE DOUBLE
THE Hugo Palmer trained HOME OF THE BRAVE improved markedly on his debut to take a maiden at Newmarket last time and looks the sort that can handle a step up in class for Group Three Sirenia Stakes at Kempton (4.10). At 3/1, he’s a worthy favourite to land the prize under jockey Kevin Manning.
Tipperary are scoring plenty of goals this year and there’s a confident buzz in the camp as they prepare to meet Kilkenny for tomorrow’s All-Ireland final at Croke Park.
The Cats (4/5) are well used to being the odds-on favourites but this looks tighter than the market suggests and the 6/4 about the Premier County is just too hard to resist.