Sole Power races to King's Stand Glory
Sole Power edged out South African raider Shea Shea to claim a deserved victory in a thrilling climax to the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Edward Lynam's stable star has been knocking at the door in Group One sprints ever since winning his 100-1 shock victory in the Nunthorpe at York three years ago and finished an excellent third in last year's King's Stand.
Mike de Kock's Shea Shea was the 11-4 favourite after smashing the Meydan track record in the Al Quoz Sprint on World Cup night in March, and appeared to have claimed victory when coming through on the far side of the track.
However, 8-1 shot Sole Power was produced to perfection by Johnny Murtagh, absolutely blitzing through the final furlong and getting up right on the line on the near side of the track.
As the pair were so far apart, the result went to a photo finish, but the judge confirmed the Irish runner the victor by a neck.
Pearl Secret made good late headway to finish third.
Murtagh said: "Forty winners at Royal Ascot, I'm really proud of it.
"As a jockey this is where you want to be performing. It makes the Mondays and the Fridays a lot easier when you come to a meeting like this and ride great horses for good people. I'vejust been one of the lucky ones.
"Eddie (Lynam) told me to ride him like I normally ride him and to ride him like I owned him.
"He's got a great turn of foot if you can just conserve his energy. He's very willing and if he gets going too early he runs out of steam. You've got to time it to the best.
"I didn't see Shea Shea but I knew I'd hit the line well."
Lynam said: "He's not always been lucky, but he's always been good.
"He's won a Palace House, a Temple and the Nunthorpe at 100-1. He's one of the proper ones."Lynam went on: "I'm delighted for the horse and the whole family and he'll now go for the July Cup.
"He's a year older and he might well get the (six-furlong) trip now.
"Then he'll go for the Nunthorpe, the Prix de l'Abbaye and across for the Hong Kong Sprint.
"We might give him a couple of weeks off after that, and get him ready to go back for Dubai!"
Shea Shea's rider Christophe Soumillon said simply: "I was on the wrong side behind the wrong horses."
De Kock said: "We would have liked to have been on the outside where there was more speed. Disappointed, but he acquitted himself extremely well.
"If he pulls up 100 per cent sound tomorrow morning we might take our chance on Saturday (Diamond Jubilee) - he's had no race whatsoever."
David Barron was delighted with the effort of Pearl Secret on his seasonal bow, saying: "To say I am happy would be an understatement, we had not run him this season simply because of the ground not being right - he needs a little bit of dig.
"I personally wouldn't run him back here on Saturday, as he has had quite a tough race.
"He'll be in all the big sprints and hopefully we can get one."