The five-time Group One winner may be getting on in years at the age of nine, but he showed he retains plenty of talent and speed when flying home to finish a close third in the Meydan Sprint at the start of the month, his traditional warm-up race for World Cup night.
As well as winning the Al Quoz Sprint 12 months ago, Sole Power has run with credit at Meydan on numerous occasions and Lynam is looking forward to seeing him do battle in the desert once more.
After seeing his charge stretch his legs on the all-weather training track on Tuesday morning, the trainer said: “He trains himself really and has done a steady canter and quickened up for the last 400 metres. The plan is to give him a workout tomorrow on the main grass track and that will be him sorted for Saturday.”
Sole Power is the only Irish-trained representative in a 14-strong field.
The British challenge is headed by the William Haggas-trained Muthmir, who finished third on his return to action in the Hever Sprint at Lingfield last month.
With owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s retained rider Paul Hanagan siding with former Haggas inmate Ertijaal, Dane O’Neill will take the ride on Muthmir, who emerged from the quarantine area for the first time on Tuesday for an easy six-furlong canter on the main dirt track under work rider Jason Favell.
Sheikh Hamdan’s racing manager, Angus Gold, said: “He looks really good, bright and well. In fact, it’s the best I’ve ever seen him at this time of year.”
Jim Bolger will see how Herald The Dawn is training over the next couple of weeks before deciding to consider a prep run ahead of the Qipco 2000 Guineas. Bolger reports the son of New Approach to have thrived during the winter but that he needs to improve if he is to worry market leader Air Force Blue, who beat him three lengths in the National Stakes at the Curragh in September.
“He’s got a lot stronger and he’s much thicker then he was last year, but I wouldn’t think any higher. He’s a very strong looking animal,” the Coolcullen handler said. “They need to thrive throughout the winter and also into the spring. They don’t need to have any setbacks.
“He’s been well and healthy all along and he’s done very well. I’d be very happy with him. His form was very good, but he still has to improve a bit to get near the ante-post favourite (Air Force Blue).
“We’ll be upping the pace with him in the next couple of weeks and if he’s working lazily we’ll have to consider a run beforehand, but otherwise he’ll go straight there. I haven’t thought about where we might go for a possible prep run as the ground would be a big factor with him.
“I’d be hoping to grab a Group One with him some place during the year.”
Fascinating Rock is set to make his seasonal reappearance in the Mooresbridge Stakes at the Curragh ahead of another crack at the Tattersalls Gold Cup.
The Dermot Weld-trained entire took the Group Three Mooresbridge on the way to the Group One back at the Curragh at the end of May in which he was second to Al Kazeem last term.
“He’s in great form, we’re happy, it’s early days yet,” Weld said.
“He will probably start off at the Curragh in the Mooresbridge Stakes with his first major target being the Tattersalls Gold Cup.”
“He tends to take a race so the first race will tell us a lot but his main first target is the big Group One.”