It’s shaping up as an exciting clash of the Irish-trained stablemates at Sha Tin this Sunday, December 8, with the Edward Lynam-trained duo Sole Power and Slade Power facing off against a crack field in the Hong Kong International Race Day classic.
A 14-horse field of short distance specialists is set to square off in this year’s edition of the HK $15 million Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint (1200m).
The clear favourite approaching odds-on territory in Hong Kong Sprint betting is star Japanese sprinter Lord Kanaloa ($2.20) looking for back-to-back Hong Kong Sprint wins following their success here 12 months ago.
The other single figure fancies are then Casper Fownes’ Krisflyer International Sprint champ Lucky Nine, John Moore’s Jockey Club Sprint quinella Charles The Great (1st) and their stablemate Sterling City (2nd).
Just outside of these is then Lynam’s exciting runners Sole Power ($12) and Slade Power ($13).
Kyllachy gelding Sole Power races outside of Europe for the first time in two years here, the galloper last seen in the winner’s stall back in June at Royal Ascot when they took out the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes (1005m).
Last start they lumped a big 62kg to run sixth behind Maarek in the Group 1 Qatar Prix De La’Abbaye De Longchamp (1000m) on October 6, an effort Lynam is confident they can improve on.
They’ll get a better weight on Sunday and their trainer is also hoping for a better barrier after they did their best from double digits (13 of 20) in their lead-up run.
The only concern however could be the distance.
Their pet distance is 1000m – 1005m and at their last go over more they finished fifth in the July Cup (1207m) which was their first look at further than 1005m since December 2011 when they ran ninth to Lucky Nine in that year’s Hong Kong Sprint.
“Sole Power has been running well all season, he’s an experienced horse, getting wiser as he gets older – a bit like his trainer,” Lynam told PAA on Wednesday after visiting them the morning before.
“He’ll need to run a lot better than he did in this race two years ago but, if he relaxes in the race, he’ll get the six furlongs all right. He’s fresh and well and his training has been good.”
As for Slade Power, the Dutch Art four-year-old comes off an Ascot win from October 19 when they caught the eye taking out the Group 2 British Champions Sprint Stakes (1207m).
That followed on from their second behind Gordon Lord Byron in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup (1207m) in September, the winner of that race running in the Hong Kong Mile on the weekend.
“Slade Power is an improving horse, winning a couple of Group Three races, being placed in a Group One race, and winning a Group Two,” Lynam said.
“If he breaks well, he’ll run a good race.”
To help them get the jump he’ll give them a go from the stalls on Friday morning to help sharpen them up give them the barrier experience pre-race.
Until then Lynam will eagerly await jump time on Saturday, hoping his runners can figure in the finish and rating them a better chance than the bookies are as they’ve settled into their new surroundings well.
“They have both travelled well and have settled in here with no bother, which is the main thing,” the handler said.
“I hope they will run their races on Sunday.”
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