Dual Power-play looks on for Lynam

Sole Power appears increasingly likely to be allowed to join stable companion Slade Power in today’s Darley July Cup after trainer Eddie Lynam received an encouraging report on conditions from big-race jockey Richard Hughes on Friday.

Dual Power-play looks on for Lynam

Sole Power was a scintillating winner of the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, but heavy rain in Newmarket throughout Thursday and into Friday morning threatened to scupper his participation in this weekend’s Group One feature.

However, the ground was widely reported to have held up well during Friday’s fixture and as long as there is no further deterioration in conditions, Lynam is set to launch a formidable twin assault.

“The ground is not as bad as we expected,” said Lynam.

“I’ve spoken to Richard Hughes who rode there on Friday and he said it not as bad as he thought it would be, so if there’s no more rain we’ll be running I expect.

“We certainly won’t be taking him out before Friday night and as the horse is over there and in good form he’ll probably run.”

Slade Power is the coming force in the sprinting world and bagged his first Group One with an impressive display in the Diamond Jubilee at the Royal meeting to complete at fantastic week for Lynam. He appears effective on any ground.

Lynam said: “They have both had an A1 preparation for this race, although I have done nothing major with them since Royal Ascot.

“Slade Power has done nothing but improve throughout his career and we are hopeful that he still has a bit more improvement left in him.

“The Diamond Jubilee was a good result for him but I think he might have been idling a bit in front, his jockey (Wayne Lordan) certainly thinks that he was.

“It would be hard to make a case that Sole Power’s best trip is anything other than five furlongs but I still believe that he is a pretty potent force over six furlongs and he was only a neck and a head behind Slade Power in this last year.

“The last time that Sole Power ran in a Group One race over six furlongs he was second to the best sprinter in the world (Lord Kanaloa) in Hong Kong last December with Slade Power behind him.”

Aljamaaheer was something of a nearly horse over a mile so trainer Roger Varian has dropped him to six furlongs this term and both of his runs have suggested it is a good move.

“Royal Ascot probably represented a step forward on his Abernant Stakes run and he would have been second in another stride,” said Varian.

“He has got a length and three-quarters to make up on Slade Power, it’s a tough division and we have got to turn the form book around.

“But, without fishing for excuses, I still think that it is fair to say that he still has another couple of pounds worth of improvement in him.

“Paul Hanagan rightly said that we spent the whole of last year trying to get him to switch off. He is still adjusting to new race conditions and this is only his third try at sprinting.

“He is in very good condition at the moment and we really want to try and bag one of these top races with him.

“We would have preferred quicker ground and any drying out between now and then would help.”

An added ingredient is the presence of the Spanish raider Noozhoh Canarias, not disgraced when sixth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas.

His trainer Enrique Leon said: “He had a gallop on Tuesday which sharpened him up and woke him up a bit and now he’s really ready to go.

“He’s a good traveller, he has been here for the best part of a week now and has taken everything very well.

“He won’t necessarily make the running, he just needs to use his pace as he has a very long stride. If anyone wants to go faster than him then we will be happy to sit in behind.

“I think the Guineas form is very strong, as he had many Group One horses behind him, and if he reproduces that run I will be happy and he should go close.”

American trainer Wesley Ward made his name in Europe by plundering two-year-old races at Royal Ascot and has brought over Undrafted, owned by Wes Welker, an American football star, and ridden by Frankie Dettori.

“He’s doing great, I’m really excited about the race. The horse seems to be on the top of his game right now, he just beat all the best of the American sprinters in a 300,000 dollar invitational race on Belmont Stakes day,” Ward told Betfred TV.

“Unfortunately the flight got delayed 24 hours but it really didn’t set us back at all, the horse ate up great.

“I’m very excited. I really think he’s coming into his own right now, he had a wonderful campaign at two and three. This being his four-year-old campaign, which should be his best, we freshened him up in the fall. He hooked back into the dirt on his first race back against probably one of the best sprinters in our country and ran a credible third.

“We switched him to the Polytrack, which he’s trained on, and I was very disappointed in that run. It was a hot and sticky day and the Polytrack can change, he ran really poorly. But he came back on Kentucky Derby day, and indicated he was back by running a valiant second, having met some trouble.

“When he ran on Belmont Stakes day he put everything together. He came out of it fantastic at home in Keeneland and I’m looking for a big, big performance.

“Johnny (Velazquez) is a wonderful rider but in looking at the race and the weight they put on him, Johnny is very, very light. I wanted a very experienced rider and there’s no-one in the world more experienced than Frankie Dettori. I wanted a rider that was a little heavier so we wouldn’t be packing lots of dead weight. I couldn’t think of a better pilot.”

A real dark horse is Aidan O’Brien’s Cougar Mountain who was reportedly the best juvenile at Ballydoyle last year but never made it to the track.

He was an impressive winner on his debut and O’Brien said: “We have always liked Cougar Mountain but it took us a while to get the colt to the racecourse.

“He had a couple of niggling problems but is back on track now.”

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