Edward Lynam is pointing at the Temple Stakes in Haydock Park as a barometer on setting up his gelding for another shot at the Al Quoz next year.
Gelding pays big dividends with aim at another Al Quoz chance
Edward Lynam hopes that Saturday's Temple Stakes at Haydock Park in England can act as a stepping stone to a fairy-tale season for Sole Power and set up another crack at the Al Quoz sprint in Dubai next year.
The Irishman, who trains at Dunshaughlin, north-west of Dublin, bought Sole Power in 2008 for £32,000 on behalf of owners David and Sabena Power.
Since the gelding surprised the world by scooping the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes at York two seasons ago, the owners have enjoyed trips around the world to follow their pride and joy.
Their most recent tour took in Meydan Racecourse, where their five-year-old sprinter finished second to Ortensia in the US$1 million (Dh3.67m) event - a vast improvement on the 14th place in the same race last year.
"Last year alone, the owners started off with a runner on the biggest race night in the world," Lynam told The National. "They had a ticket for Royal Ascot, and then Paris for the Abbaye, which is the biggest race in Europe. They won a Qipco series race, so they were invited to a big dinner in England, and then they finished second at Meydan this year, so they are getting a fair bang for their buck."
Sole Power is one of only three Group 1 winners in the line-up to Saturday's Group 2 contest over five furlongs, with Tangerine Trees carrying a penalty for beating Sole Power in the Prix l'Abbaye at Longchamp in October.
Borderlescott is the only other horse in the 13-runner field with a win at the highest level, although Roger Charlton's Bated Breath is considered the most likely winner on account of his exploits last season when he found only Khalifa Dasmal's Dream Ahead too good twice in top company.
The Temple Stakes carries prize-money of £45,368 (Dh261,242) to the winner, which is less than Invisible Ash earned when beating Sole Power into second in the Meydan Sprint in March.
Sole Power picked up $235,000 (£149,900) for finishing second twice in Dubai, and Lynam believes the economics of contesting races such as the Temple no longer add up for the owners.
"There are only three Group 1 races over five furlongs in Europe and the Al Quoz is the only one of those four races with serious prize money," he said. "The Temple is a very good race, but it is worth around 50 grand [thousand pounds]. We won it last year and three of the first four home had won the four previous Nunthorpes between them so the standard is very high and we're running for such little cash."
Sole Power is race-fit once again, and should be at his peak for Royal Ascot next month, where he will take on Ortensia once again and several of today's rivals.
All being well, Lynam plans to run in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August once again, before taking in Paris and then Dubai for 2013.
"He was ready as a gunfighter's gun in the Al Quoz," Lynam said. "He thrived in Dubai and put on a bit of weight. He got bigger and stronger as the weather out there was kind.
"At the end of the day though, he didn't win there. Sure we're very proud of him and he ran great but he got beat twice. In monetary terms though, it was great compensation. He'll go close at Haydock."
O'BRIEN TO GIVE PAIR ANOTHER TRY
Aidan O'Brien has handed Daddy Long Legs and Wrote a chance to put their recent form behind them Saturday when they feature in the Irish 2000 Guineas, sponsored by Abu Dhabi, at the Curragh.
The Irish trainer broke the stranglehold of Saeed Bin Suroor and Mike de Kock in the UAE Derby when Daddy Long Legs won the final Classic of the Dubai season in March, with Wrote two lengths behind in third.
This month Daddy Long Legs was pulled up in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, where he floundered in the dirt, much as he had done in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile in November.
Wrote similarly flopped when considered the most likely winner of a Derby trial in Ireland on unsuitably soft ground two weeks ago.
The pair are joined in the race by stablemates Power and Reply, while Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa's Hermival tries to better his third-placed finish in the English equivalent behind Camelot.
Also representing Dubai World Cup night form this weekend will be O'Brien's So You Think, who faces only four rivals in the Gold Cup at the Curragh tomorrow.
Over in France, Cirrus Des Aigles and Planteur clash in the Prix d'Ispahan.
Planteur edged out So You Think for third behind Monterosso in the world's richest race at Meydan Racecourse.
Trainer Marco Botti expects a better performance from So You Think this time at Longchamp against the Dubai Sheema Classic victor.
"The Dubai run was his first for us, so you would expect him to improve," Botti said.
"We had to rush him a bit to get him to Dubai, but he's had a break now and he's come back in and looks very well."
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