Eddie Lynam has his fingers firmly crossed that his sprint stars Sole Power and Slade Power get to Royal Ascot in top shape next week where a momentous Group One double could be on the cards.
The Co Meath-based trainer memorably saddled Sole Power to a thrilling King’s Stand success last year and while the stable stalwart has a couple of rivals in front of him in most ante-post betting lists ahead of again contesting next Tuesday’s five-furlong highlight, his younger stable companion Slade Power is a clear favourite for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes on the final day of the world-famous meeting.
Both horses race in the colours of Sabena Power, wife of David Power, one of the founders of the Paddy Power betting firm, and represent a remarkable concentration of top-class sprinting talent in one yard that Lynam has exploited to the full over the last number of years.
The seven-year-old Sole Power is a dual-Group One winner that has earned well over a million in prize-money and taken connections around the globe. But while his younger stablemate has yet to win a Group One he looked better than ever with a victory in last month’s Greenlands Stakes and Lynam believes the best is yet to come from him.
“I think the world of the horse. He’s won a Group Two and couple of Group Threes and hopefully this can be the year he wins a Group One,” he said yesterday. “Sole still holds the bragging rights here because of what he’s done. But it would be an easier job picking between my kids!”
Slade Power, seventh to Lethal Force at Royal Ascot 2013, scored over Ascot's six furlongs last October on 'Champions Day' and with apparently less of an obvious Australasian influence on this year's big sprints at the meeting he is a 4-1 favourite to score in the Diamond Jubilee. Sole Power is a general 6/1 shot in the Kings Stand behind his old rival Shea Shea and the up-and-coming Hot Streak.
“Sole and Viztoria will be left in the Diamond Jubilee as well. But Sole puts a lot into his races so I doubt very much if he’d run in the two, and Viztoria would have to have the word soft in the going description. Things are on target with all of them and hopefully it stays like that,” Lynam added.
The Australian superstar sprinter Choisir pulled off the Kings Stand-Diamond Jubilee double in 2003 but doing it with two different horses would be a huge feather in Lynam’s cap although his big Ascot hopes aren’t confined to the two Powers.
Pearl Of Africa will take her chance in the Group Two Duke Of Cambridge Stakes while the exciting two-year-old Anthem Alexander looks set to be a major player in the Queen Mary Stakes after her spectacular Tipperary debut last week. Viztoria could get a spin before Ascot as she remains in contention for Thursday night’s Group Three Ballyogan Stakes at Leopardstown if getting her preferred soft ground conditions.
The overall Irish team for Ascot 2014 is starting to take shape with the Leger winner Leading Light a strong 7/4 favourite for Gold Cup glory among a typically strong prospective Ballydoyle raiding party. Johnny Murtagh though plans to take him on with Royal Diamond.
“Leading Light is a staying horse and he looks stronger this year,” Murtagh said. “But our horse likes the track. The trip is a question, but he is in good shape so we are looking forward to giving it a shot.”
Murtagh also plans to run Purr Along in the Duke Of Cambridge Stakes after her Group Three win at the Curragh last time and the trainer added: “She was always going well in the spring but had a few little hold-ups. But she’s a filly we like and if we can keep her as she was at the Curragh she should make her presence felt
John Oxx is fervently hoping ground conditions are on the fast side ahead of Friday week's Coronation Stakes where the Curragh trainer hopes to finally give My Titania a first run of the season.
Denied the chance to run in the Guineas at Newmarket due to a dirty scope, and the Curragh Guineas due to ground conditions, the daughter of Sea The Stars has a distinct preference for quick going.
“Fingers crossed she gets her ground at Ascot. You normally only get soft once in about 20 years so hopefully she will get her ground,” Oxx said yesterday.