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Global power: Irish sprinters look set for festive cheer


Sole Power in action at York

Sole Power in action at York

Sole Power in action at York

They might not be the Oscars or the BAFTAs but winning a HRI Award is a fairly proud moment for anyone in the industry and even getting nominated can be a minor highlight.

While Leopardstown (Racecourse Of The Year) are sweltering under the heat of preparing for their big Christmas Festival in just a couple of weeks and Willie Mullins (National Hunt Award) is readying the battalion that will attack every Grade One between now and the hazy renditions of Auld Lang Syne, three of Monday's HRI Award winners find themselves in Hong Kong.


Sole Power has yet to try on the swanky new rug, headcollar or bridle that was handed over to his owners on his behalf when he was named Horse Of The Year as he was already acclimatising, while his trainer Eddie Lynam modestly went to the ceremony not imagining he would leave with a handful of sought after Siobhan Bulfin bronzes.

Tom Hogan is such a frequent visitor to Hong Kong with Gordon Lord Byron that he's nearly fluent in Cantonese at this stage and, ahead of his fourth tilt at a race in Sha Tin, there is an air of confidence in the camp.

Sole Power ran in the Hong Kong Sprint last year and finished second to a superstar in Lord Kanaloa and while connections of both Irish speedballs are happy there is no such freak in this year's race, they admit luck in running will be vital for the race that is worth €1,850,000.

After yesterday's draw, both are happy with their lot. Hogan drew barrier two for his stable star while owner David Power managed to pull out five for Sole Power, despite the fact there were very few low numbers left at the time.

Lucky Nine, once a resident with Andy Oliver in County Tyrone, is shading favouritism, but the Irish duo have a fighting chance and it's definitely a race to set the alarm for at 6.40am on Sunday.

Jim Bolger has been here before and left a successful mark on Hong Kong racing history. Bolger sent out Alexander Goldrun to win the Hong Kong Cup and now it's the turn of Parish Hall to have a go at the Hong Kong Vase.

Bolger doesn't travel for fresh air and although an outsider he warrants respect. It would have been easy for the trainer to have a rethink after losing Trading Leather in Japan but that is not his style and dismiss the chance of Parish Hall at your peril.

Maybe set that alarm for 6am Sunday instead . . .