Sole Power (left) burst through the pack late to win a fourth Group 1
PICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
Report: York, Friday
Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1) 5f, 2yo+
SOLE POWER won a second Nunthorpe and a fourth Group 1 under a wondrous ride by Richard Hughes, the pair managing to find every dead end going before the gap they needed finally appeared at the last possible moment.
Held up off the strong pace set by Take Cover, Hughes oozed confidence as the field entered the final two furlongs but switching towards the stands’ rail to deliver his challenge, the rider saw the first and second gap he went for close in front of him.
“It happened one and half furlongs out; they split into two groups and I was in between the two and my reins slackened, so I had to go back in for cover,” explained Hughes.
Switching back towards the centre of the track entering the final furlong, the pair found their progress again halted as they were caught in a pocket, flanked by retreating horses. With nowhere to go, Hughes sat and suffered on the 11-4 favourite.
Luckily those with less to give faded fast and a few strides later he was able to unleash his mount’s rocket-propelled acceleration, putting behind them the ground almost as quickly as it opened in front of them.
Unbelievably Sole Power had half length to spare from 20-1 shot Stepper Point at the post, who again found only the winner too good having occupied the same position in the King’s Stand. Consistent three-year-old Extortionist was third at 14-1 under Ryan Moore.
Richard Hughes: “when I was 14 or 15 I dreamed of riding horses like this”
PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
The victory took the winning rider’s record to two from two on the seven-year-old, with a ride that displayed ultimate confidence in the horse’s ability, as well as his own.
“He’s brilliant, he’s made for me.” said Hughes. “When I was 14 or 15 I dreamed of riding horses like this and doing it like that, he’s done it nicely.”
His trainer Eddie Lynam added: “We couldn’t train him because of his skin problem, so to come back and do that means he’s a very special horse. He’s the horse of a lifetime and there’s something special about him.”
Plotting the rest of his campaign, Lynam revealed he was considering three runs in three different countries. “We haven’t run in Ireland for a good while and weather permitting we’d like to run on Irish Champions Weekend.
“Then we will go to France for the Abbaye, but the ground will probably be too slow for him. The big target with him is Hong Kong. We finished second there last year to an exceptional sprinter and I’d love to win that one.”
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