Wednesday 17 January 2018

Richard Hughes flicks on the Power for Royal Ascot coup

Jockey James Doyle riding Kingman wins the St James's Palace Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse
Jockey James Doyle riding Kingman wins the St James's Palace Stakes during day one of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse in Ascot, England. Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Marcus Armytage

Horses that win the same race at consecutive Royal Ascots are not unique, but they are in an elite group and, yesterday, evergreen sprinter Sole Power joined them after his brilliant victory in the King's Stand Stakes.

Not much bigger than a pony at 15 hands, Sole Power could yet carve a piece of Ascot history for himself on Saturday by turning out again in the Golden Jubilee, in which Meath trainer Eddie Lynam also has Slade Power. Both are owned by the Paddy Power family of bookmaking fame. A second victory would emulate the great Australian sprinter Choisir, which doubled up in in 2003.

That decision will be down to Lynam, but the well-travelled seven-year-old could hardly have made easier work of it, winning with one late burst of speed that Richard Hughes reckoned amounted to making up a deficit of five lengths in just 50 yards and left Stepper Point and Hot Streak scrapping for minor honours.

Lynam said: "It was the 17th Group One he's run in and Saturday might be his 18th.


"If you ride him right he's exceptional; if you don't he's still pretty good. But if the ordinary punter is happy with his position in a race it usually means he's too far forward.

"Normally a trainer is entitled to 10pc (of winnings) but you'd train this one for nought. He's very easy to train. He's never had a well-known trainer, but he has always had a top-class jockey. When Johnny Murtagh retired we had Ryan Moore and now Richard Hughes."

Paddy Power Jnr said: "I had a good bet and have a big double going on to Slade Power – I hope Sole Power doesn't mess it up!"

Sole Power is the sort of horse that might have been made for Hughes, who was completing a 10/1 double having won the Queen Anne on Toronado with another perfectly timed late delivery to beat Aidan O'Brien's Verrazano by three-parts of a length.

It was a first Royal Ascot winner at the first attempt for Richard Hannon Jnr. "It's wonderful to start the meeting like this," he said.

"I was nervous this morning but I'm starting to feel a bit better now. He's every bit as good as any horse we've ever had. He looks like Superman, he does! He's a hell of a horse."

Toronado could now head back for Goodwood's Sussex Stakes, in which he beat Dawn Approach last year, and could face rising star Kingman following the three-year-old's impressive victory in the St James's Palace Stakes.

James Doyle placed a finger to his lips in silencing any remaining doubters as he and the John Gosden-trained colt avenged their surprise 2,000 Guineas defeat to Night Of Thunder.

Night Of Thunder surprisingly took the lead under Hughes instead of stablemate Toormore, and while the 8/11 favourite Kingman had some ground to make up with a furlong remaining, he completed it so easily Doyle was looking over his shoulder crossing the line with two and a quarter lengths in hand. O'Brien's War Command was a never-nearer fourth.

Kingman also secured the Irish Guineas and now he will be raised to challenge older horses for overall supremacy of the mile division.

The other Irish winner came from an unusual source as Charles Byrnes – better known as a jumps trainer – sent out Domination to claim the Ascot Stakes under Fran Berry.

The versatile seven-year-old has won on the Flat, over hurdles and over fences during the last couple of years, showing a preference for fast ground on a number of occasions.

Berry sensibly played the waiting game in this stamina-sapping two-and-a-half-mile contest and still had only a couple of rivals behind him as he prepared to round the sweeping bend of home.

The jockey brought the 12/1 shot wide to challenge in the straight and Domination galloped all the way to the line to take top honours by two and a half lengths from Another Cocktail. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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