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Sole surprise for Spangled

Starspangledbanner was foiled in his bid for a third Group One success in a row yesterday by 100/1 outsider Sole Power.

The shock came in the Nunthorpe Stakes on the final day of the four-day Ebor meeting at York where punters made Starspangledbanner a 6/4 favourite after victories at Royal Ascot in June and Newmarket last month.

Ridden by Johnny Murtagh for Irish trainer Aidan O'Brien, the favourite was drawn on the outside and failed to start quickly.

But in the closing 200 metres the colt looked like he might still land the hat-trick before Sole Power, also trained in Ireland, took command to win by a length and a quarter.

Piccadilly Filly, another 100/1 shot, was third of the 12 runners in the five-furlong (1-km) dash.

Sole Power's only two previous victories had come in minor races in Dundalk.

Winning trainer Edward Lynam said: "We thought this race would suit him. I'm not saying we thought he'd win.

"His owner was keen to run and he knows a bit about form. He'll be a better horse next year."

Winning jockey Wayne Lordan said: "I didn't think I'd have much of a chance.

"He ran well at Newmarket earlier in the year and I thought he might be a horse who might take his chance next year."

Sole Power will now be aimed at the Prix de l'Abbaye at Longchamp in October, the big end-of-season test for Europe's top sprinters.

Tom Queally is convinced Sariska would have had her work cut out to beat Midday in Thursday's Darley Yorkshire Oaks -- even if she had left the starting stalls.

Midday's trainer Henry Cecil said in the aftermath that it was the four-year-old's best ever performance and Queally is fully supportive of that view.

"Whatever will be, will be, and while those people might think my job was made easier," the jockey said. "I reckon Sariska would have had to be at her very, very best -- probably better than she's ever been before -- to give us something to think about, let alone beat us.

Richard Hannon's speedy juvenile Libranno puts his unbeaten record on the line in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville tomorrow.

After a 25/1 debut success at Newmarket, the youngster has gone on to prove that was no fluke with victories in the July Stakes at Headquarters and in Goodwood's Richmond Stakes.

He tackles Group One company this weekend and is likely to bounce out in a bid to make all under Richard Hughes.

"It could be Libranno's first time on soft ground, although we are told that the going is drying out fast and that it won't be far off good come Sunday," the trainer said. "Libranno deserves a crack at the big one."


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