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Monday 7 January 2019

Sole Power Double Jubilant In The Nunthorpe Stakes For Edward Lynam

If ever one horse was genetically predisposed to win one race that horse was Sole Power and that race was the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, although, just for good measure, he won the prestigious 5-furlong contest not once, but twice, in 2010 and 2014. Foaled on March 18, 2007, Sole Power was sired by Kyllachy, who won the Nunthorpe Stakes for Henry Candy in 2002 and was, in turn, sired by Pivotal, who won the Nunthorpe Stakes for Sir Mark Prescott in 1996. He was owned by Mrs. Sabine Power and trained by Edward Lynam in Dunshaughlin, Co. Meath. 

Destiny or not, his first victory, as a completely unconsidered 100/1 outsider, over a field that contained Kingsgate Native and Borderlescott, winners of the last three renewals, and Staspangledbanner, winner of the Golden Jubilee Stakes and the July Cup – to name but three of his 11 illustrious rivals – sent a shock wave of major proportions through the racing world. 

Prior to the Nunthorpe Stakes, his best performance in a Pattern race had come on the second start of his three-year-old campaign, when fourth of 12, beaten 2½ lengths, behind Equiano – who was also in the Nunthorpe field – in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, when ridden by Wayne Lordan. On that occasion, Sole Power was ridden prominently but, at York, a change of tactics brought about a dramatic change of fortune. As would become his customary style of racing thereafter, he was, for the first time, held up, before unleashing a single, withering burst of acceleration in the closing stages to win decisively by 1¼ lengths from Starspangledbanner. 

Sole Power ran in the Nunthorpe Stakes in five of the next six years before he was retired from racing, at the age of ten, in March, 2017, on his return from a short, but unsuccessful stint in Dubai. He missed the race in 2011, when connections preferred the Group Three Flying Five Stakes, on home soil, at the Curragh – in which he was beaten, anyway – but finished seventh to Ortensia in 2012, third to Jwala, beaten half a length a nose, in 2013, fourth to Mecca’s Angel in 2015 and eighth to the same horse in 2016. 

However, in 2014, despite suffering from a skin infection that limited him to just four appearances on British soil, Sole Power was at the top of his game. He won the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket under Ryan Moore and the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot – for the second time – under Richard Hughes en route to his fourth crack at the Nunthorpe Stakes in five years. 

Ridden, once again, by Richard Hughes, he unsurprisingly started favourite, at 11/4, to land his second renewal, but had things far from all his own way. Held up, as usual, he was switched to challenge on the stands’ side over a furlong out, but denied a clear run and switched back to the centre of the course inside the final furlong, before quickening through a gap between horses close home to win by half a length. Stepper Point finished second, as he’d done in the King’s Stand Stakes, while the next seven horses home, headed by Sprint Stakes winner Extortionist, all finished within 2 lengths of the winner.