Sunday 8 December 2019

Sole Power leads Lynam's bid for sprint monopoly

Race horse trainer Eddie Lynam.
Race horse trainer Eddie Lynam.

Richard Forristal

Eddie Lynam will endeavour to complete a clean sweep of the five marquee English sprints when Sole Power spearheads a potent Irish assault on tomorrow's Sprint Cup at Haydock.

Lynam's sensational speedball heads the market for the €260,000 Group One at odds of 7/2 despite having never won over its six-furlong trip. However, the seven-year-old has struck up a prolific association with Richard Hughes this term, looking better than ever when pinching the King's Stand and the Nunthorpe in typically dramatic style on his last two starts.

Slade Power, which races in the same Sabena Power silks, would have been the Co Meath stable's first choice for the Sprint Cup, but he is instead being prepared by Lynam for an ambitious Australian foray in November as he recovers from a bout of ringworm that he picked up after his victories in the Diamond Jubilee and the July Cup.

"It's a shame Slade Power couldn't make it, but we'll let him do his talking in Australia and the fastest horse in the world isn't a bad supersub," said Power's son Paddy, who is the face of the bookmaking firm of the same name.

"Some pundits reckon Sole Power is better over five furlongs, but he would have won the Hong Kong Sprint over six if he hadn't met a monster horse. I'm not saying he'll definitely win at Haydock, but he won't be beaten!"

Gordon Lord Byron's famous Haydock triumph 12 months ago left Newmarket's Falmouth Stakes as the only English Group One that has yet to be won by an Irish-trained horse since being upgraded to top-level status.

Tom Hogan's stable star had finished second to Society Rock 12 months earlier, and he will return now for a third stab at the race, with Wayne Lordan taking the ride on the 11/2 second favourite after Joseph O'Brien switched back to Ballydoyle's Cougar Mountain.

Evanna McCutcheon's Maarek, another shining light of the Irish sprinting renaissance, completes the travelling delegation. He will strive to capture his second Group One under Declan McDonogh, though ground being given as good might be drier than ideal for the renowned mudlark.

Punters that took the hint yesterday when O'Brien opted to make his first visit to Laytown for four years were rewarded when the reigning champion jockey enjoyed his initial win at the unique beach venue aboard Gordon Elliott's Sister Slew.

The well-backed 9/4 favourite always looked in command as O'Brien coaxed her three lengths clear in the claimer, in the process leaving Tramore as the solitary domestic Flat venue now left for him to conquer. "It's something different and it's nice to ride a winner here," the elated 21-year-old said afterwards.

"Gordon was quite confident Sister Slew would win and he was spot on. She travelled away fine and probably got to the front a bit sooner than ideal but my rhythm was taking me there."

It was also a memorable afternoon on the Co Meath coastline for Michael O'Callaghan and Chris Geoghegan. The in-form O'Callaghan, who revealed that his classy juvenile Rapid Applause is to be roughed off until next year following his second at the Curragh on Sunday, departed with a birthday winner when Mr Bounty (6/1) held on gamely in the six-furlong handicap for Geoghegan.

On his first ride for two months, it was a belated debut win of the year for Geoghegan, a former leading apprentice whose ongoing struggle with his weight has seen him ride successfully over jumps in the past.

Lancaster trainer Richard Ford enjoyed a successful visit when Seamster justified 3/1 favouritism under Colin Keane. "We've had this in mind for a little while," Ford admitted after landing the €6,000 prize.

Navan-based Pat Martin took training honours, departing with a fine 34/1 Laytown brace courtesy of Our Max (10/3) and Togoville (7/1).

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