IRISH eyes were smiling at Doncaster yesterday as Eddie Lynam's Sole Power showed he's still a top-class sprinter and Michael Kinane showed he's still a top jockey, albeit retired.
On paper, the Scarbrough Stakes looked a perfect opportunity for Sole Power to record his first win of the season, but with rain arriving at the course, the five-year-old drifted from 2/1 out to 5/2.
The former Group One winner (of the 2010 Nunthorpe Stakes at York) was back in Listed class after a slightly below-par effort at last month's Ebor meeting.
However, his rider Johnny Murtagh was full of confidence and was happy to give the bulk of his rivals plenty of rope, settling Sole Power towards the rear of the field.
The partnership was still a long way back heading towards the last of five furlongs, but the jockey didn't panic, angled his mount out and Sole Power quickly found top gear.
The market leader found an electric turn of foot in the closing stages to pass the post with a length and a half in hand over Jwala, with Excelette back in third.
"I don't think anyone could say he didn't deserve that. Anyone who was brave enough to back a Group One horse in a Listed race at 11/4 has done very well," quipped Lynam. "He came back from York (seventh in this year's Nunthorpe) very buzzy for whatever reason. He got too much daylight that day and it didn't do him any good.
"It's a long time until the Abbaye and Hong Kong, so we wanted to get another run into him. He was quite keen today -- Johnny said he was going to be very cool on him and he certainly was."
Asked whether he was always confident Sole Power would get there, Lynam said: "No. I'm only a moderate trainer and I'd be a worse jockey!
"The horse has a very good turn of foot and, all going well, he will go for the Abbaye if the ground is right, and then on to Hong Kong as Johnny thinks he will be perfect to race over there. After that he'd probably go back to Dubai."
Kinane, meanwhile, rolled back the years with a vintage display to claim the Leger Legends Classified Stakes aboard Patriotic.
A field of 16 ex-jockeys -- some better known than others -- had gathered for the only charity race held in Britain under the rules of racing and the man who came home in front was perhaps the most accomplished of them all.
Not that it was easy, as George Duffield aboard Elijah Pepper closed to within a nose of the 5/1 favourite.
Julie Krone made a bold bid to repeat last year's victory by leading on Sunnyside Tom for most of the mile, but Kinane (pictured left) delivered Patriotic with a smooth run to lead with just over a furlong remaining.
But the sprightly 53-year-old had to push as if his life depended on it to keep Duffield at bay.
The Kildare resident, who also won a charity race at Aintree's Grand National meeting , retired as a professional after a glittering career at the end of the 2009 season in which he enjoyed tremendous success on the champion colt Sea The Stars.
"I'm glad it wasn't two miles. George just wouldn't go away at the end. He was trying to sneak up on me, the old fox.
"My horse travelled so well and I thought I went a bit soon on him really as we were treading water at the end.
"I still ride out twice a week for John Oxx. I like to keep fit and there is no better workout than riding a horse. Today has been good fun, it's for a great cause but I might retire again now!"
Duffield was actually given a ban for using the whip over the permitted level, with the £300 fine for the 65-year-old former Leger-winning jockey given to the charities -- the Injured Jockeys Fund's building of a rehabilitation centre in Malton, and for the redevelopment of the Northern Racing College.
A small piece of history was created at Kempton last night when Dvinsky joined Sharp Hat in becoming the joint-busiest British racehorse ever in the Betdaq Dvinsky Record-Equalling 217th Run Handicap but the 9/1 shot could finish only a close fourth under Tom McLaughlin.
The David Evans-trained Zing Wing stole the thunder of Paul Howling's evergreen 11-year-old in beating Sunshine Always by a neck.
It was the 26th time Dvinsky had been ridden by McLaughlin in what was his 76th race at Kempton, a venue which had provided 10 of his 19 career wins.