Racing UK

Editor's Blog

Hit the bookies in the Temple with this combination exacta!

22 May 2015

It is a generally accepted view that Sole Power is close to his best, despite his advancing years, and I think he could go close to registering his first success over six furlongs in the Weatherbys Ireland Greenlands Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday.

I had Sole Power in an exacta with Peniaphobia for the Al Quoz Sprint in March in the expectation that the lightning quick early pace would set up the race for him. As it was, I felt the Asian sprinter would be the faster of the two, but Sole Power got the fractions he needed and he came through to secure his maiden victory in Dubai. It was his ninth attempt at Meydan.

Speaking to trainer Ed Lynam this week, it was apparent that he used to believe that Sole Power could last home six furlongs, but now probably could not. I think with advancing age, Sole Power probably can get home, and he has the benefit of having Kevin Ryan’s Astaire berthed in beside him in stall two.

Astaire is clearly the pace angle, and with An Saighdiur in stall five, Sole Power will have the speed he needs to give him a tow into the race. Whether either Astaire or An Saighdiur are fast enough early enough in the race we will have to find out, but what probably prevents Sole Power ultimately justifying his price is the Group One penalty and the 2lbs he has to concede to Gordon Lord Byron.

Tom Hogan’s sprinter never gets the credit he deserves and was just over a length behind Peniaphobia over six furlongs in the Hong Kong Sprint in December. That is one of the strongest Group One sprints in the world, and having beaten the Australians on their own turf last year he has to be considered one of the best speeders in Europe, especially over six to seven furlongs.

He was too long in front when chinned by G Force, who was receiving weight, over course and distance in the Sprint Cup last season and with a decent pace also to aim at he can confirm Hong Kong form with Sole Power. Backing hold-up horses before the off seems to me a crazy strategy, as you are almost certain to get a bigger price in-running, so if you do want to side with Tom Hogan’s runner it might be best to get on the exchanges once the gates fly.

Roger Varian is too quiet a trainer to be making the sort of noises he has been about Belardo this week for no reason and I just feel that the English raider is a huge price in the Tattersalls Irish 2,000 Guineas.

All week Varian has been confident that last season’s champion juvenile will put in a much better display that when virtually tailed off on unsuitably fast ground in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury last month. The concern is actually more with the trainer, than the horse himself, who will very much appreciate the good to yielding ground in Ireland. Varian’s form has been patchy this season, with just three winners from 33 runners in May. Those three runners all came inside the last fortnight, however, and at a double-figure price I’m happy to invest each-way.

At Haydock the Temple Stakes looks tricky on first inspection but delve a little further and I think it is fair to think that it could end up being a straight shoot out between last year’s winner Hot Streak and Goldream.

Goldream put in a huge performance to win the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket, and after the race trainer Robert Cowell was very keen to go to the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot. If Goldream has any pretensions of making a dent in that race at all, he’ll have to go close to winning this.

With Hot Streak getting the ground he likes he should be hard to peg back, too. Both have race fitness on their side, as opposed to G Force and Danzeno, who may be better over a furlong further. Only Kingsgate Native and Fleeting Spirit have prevailed on seasonal debut in the Temple Stakes in the past decade so I am fairly keen to get stuck into both horses in the place market. It leaves the third spot open to another, therefore, and I think if you are in the market for a combination exacta you could do worse than good old Jack Dexter, who ran well in defeat at York and will like the ground. 

Geoffrey Riddle's Saturday tips:

2.45 Curragh: Gordon Lord Byron at 4-1 generally available

3.20 Curragh: Belardo each-way at 14-1 with BetVictor and Paddy Power

3.45 Haydock: Combination exactas: Hot Streak, Goldream, Jack Dexter

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