Preview: Royal Ascot – King’s Stand Stakes

Richard Hughes

Can Sole Power make it a hat-trick in the King’s Stand? That’s the all important question. History is against him and of course Eddie Lynam’s charge isn’t getting any younger. But Sole Power showed no signs of ageing when landing the big sprint on Dubai World Cup night earlier this year. Give him five furlongs and quick ground and he’s still capable of producing his trademark turn of foot!

The ground is going to be on the fast side on Tuesday – only a sudden monsoon could change that. A rattling pace is also ensured, with plenty of front-runners in the field – conveniently  drawn in close proximity of Sole Power – which means, if the field splits into two groups, he is likely to be in the right one.

Progressive Muthmir appears to be the biggest danger on paper. He won a good Group 2 sprint in France recently. Muthmir seems a sort likely to improve with time and age and for that reason is one to take very seriously here.

The Australians send over experienced mare Shamal Wind. She is a seasoned runner and undoubtedly a good sprinter in her own country, but It took here a very long time to win on the highest level. It’s probably fair to assume she is not quite Australia’s sprint elite, though she won the Grade 1 Oakleigh Plate when last seen.

Her nation has the reputation for developing the best sprinters in the world, and there is surely some merit to. That says not every Aussie sprinter coming over to Europe is automatically better than the domestic opposition.

Last years Haydock Sprint Cup winner G Force can’t be underestimated, although he seems better over six furlongs. The ground has gone against Mecca’s Angel, otherwise she would be very well fancied for a big run.

From the bigger prices I’d call out Goldream and last years runner-up Stepper Point. They could outrun their price tag. It’ll be interesting to see whether recent Temple Stakes winner Pearl Secret can follow-up with another big performance or if it was only a fluke.

Verdict: To be perfectly honest I find it very hard to oppose Sole Power. His record speaks volumes, he finds the right conditions here and has the pace around him. He’s still capable of winning the big races as he proved at Meydan and appears to be a better price than I would have expected.

Sole Power @ 7/2 Paddy Power – 5pts Win

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