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Society Rock to up the stakes


Society Rock ridden by Kieren Fallon. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

Society Rock ridden by Kieren Fallon. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

Society Rock ridden by Kieren Fallon. Picture: Nigel French/PA Wire

THE last time there was an Irish-trained winner of both the King's Stand Stakes and tomorrow's Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, the latter was known as the Cork and Orrery Stakes and Sony were putting the first ever Walkman on the market.

Naming the two winning trainers that year would test the most encyclopaedic of horseracing enthusiasts as one of the two went on to pursue a different path in his career.

But, shelving the general knowledge for now, it was Eddie Lynam's Sole Power who instigated a possible repeat for that sprint double for the first time since 1978.

Sole Power won the King's Stand Stakes and Lynam is also responsible for one of the five Irish representatives for the final day feature, which is run over six furlongs compared to Tuesday's five.

Lynam will send out Slade Power in the same colours as his opening day winner Sole Power, but this one is more of an outsider and is around 14/1, with Wayne Lordan looking for another Royal Ascot winner to add to his tally.

The shortest Irish contender in the betting for this race is one of the island's other leading sprinters, Gordon Lord Byron, who has been a brilliant servant for trainer Tom Hogan and connections.

The five-year-old is only just reaching his prime as a sprinter and there may well be more to come from him.

It was only at the back end of last year that he developed into a leading player in this category when narrowly denied in the Group One Betfred Sprint at Haydock before going on to win the Group One Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend at Longchamp.

Hogan's stable star has run well since at Hong Kong, Dubai and York, winning at Dundalk in between, and his Longchamp-winning partner William Buick renews his association.

Course-and-distance winner Dandy Boy tops the field for David Marnane, and despite disappointing last weekend Maarek is also declared, with Reply the Ballydoyle representative.

Despite a rather strong challenge from these shores, it looks unlikely though that the Vincent O'Brien and Noel Meade-trained double of Solinus and Sweet Mint back in 1978 will be repeated as Society Rock sets an extremely high standard and is likely to prove hard to beat.

On two occasions now connections of Gordon Lord Byron have had to watch on as they filled one of the minor places behind Society Rock, and it is James Fanshawe's six-year-old who was fifth in this race last year who is selected to score.

Kieren Fallon gave this horse an incredibly patient and well judged ride to win his seasonal debut in Group Two company at York last month and, although he is a rather skimpy favourite for such a competitive race, it's hard to argue that he isn't a worthy one.