Trainer Ed Lynam believes that veteran sprinter Sole Power will need there to be plenty of early speed in the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint to be any chance in his fourth crack at the Group 1 event at Sha Tin on Sunday.
Sole Power made his first trip to Hong Kong in 2011 when he finished ninth behind Lucky Nine and he finished second behind Japanese star Lord Kanaloa in 2013 before he finished ninth again behind Aerovelocity 12 months ago.
Lynam admits that Sole Power generally produces his best form over 1000 metres, but he has been happy with the form of the Kyllachy gelding this season and he is hopeful that he can be competitive in the 2015 Hong Kong Sprint as long as the race is run to suit.
“He has been a very good horse and he has won five Group 1s,” Lynam said.
“His best trip is 1000 metres and this is 1200, but he has some good runs at this distance as well and we have always taken the view that if you are not in then you can’t win.
“We will give it a go and he is in very good form.
“As he has got older he has got more consistent and on his top game he is probably the best sprinter in Europe at five furlongs.
“The three times that he has run here, even when he was second, he didn’t particularly like the run of the race.
“His best hope is if they are in banks of three and four and he gets cover and they go very quick and slow down a bit.
“That would be his best chance.
“He proved two years ago that he is capable of running a good race, he beat all the locals two years ago and there is no Lord Kanaloa this year.
“We live in hope.”
Sole Power has been racing since 2009 and he will turn nine in the new year, but he showed when he took out the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint (1000m) and Group 2 Flying Five Stakes (1005m) this season that he still has what it takes to perform at the highest level.
Lynam said that at this stage he has no plans to retire Sole Power, but he said that he would not hesitate to pull up stumps with the veteran if he shows any signs that he is not enjoying his race.
“Every year you expect him to fall in a hole, but this year he put up one of his career best efforts in Dubai in winning and he won a Group 2 with a penalty there a couple of months ago in Ireland,” Lynam said.
“How long can he last? I don’t know, but he acts like a three-year-old on the track, he is very fresh and he is very sound.
“As long as he is enjoying it and performing to a certain level then we will keep racing him, but the day we think he is struggling a bit then he will retire gracefully.”
Sole Power is currently available at 2015 Hong Kong Sprint odds of $15 and he is on the sixth line of betting behind Gold-Fun ($2.20), Peniaphobia ($4.40), Straight Girl ($7.50), Not Listenin’tome ($12) and Green Mask ($14).