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Shea Shea set to start hot favourite in 20 runner Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes

21 Aug 2013

South African sprint star Shea Shea, who has started favourite in both his starts in this country but has so far failed to win, will be looking to strike gold on Friday in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York.

There should be no excuses for Shea Shea on Friday. Image courtesy of

A maximum field of 20 is set to go to post for a hugely competitive sprint, but one horse stands out and should prove extremely hard to beat – though in a field of this size, shocks can happen!

South African raider Shea Shea, trained by Mike De Kock and currently based in Newmarket, is certain to start favourite for the Coolmore Nunthrope Stakes, race five in the Sprint category, as he has done on his two starts in this country at Royal Ascot and Newmarket when he was beaten both times in Series sprints.

But on Friday everything looks in his favour as he bids to give jockey Frankie Dettori a first Group 1 victory of the season. 

In the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, the five furlong trip was in his favour but the uphill climb to the winning post wasn’t.

He looked certain to win when he went clear just inside the final furlong until he was collared close home by a storming run from the Eddie Lynam-trained Sole Power.

At Newmarket the six furlong Darley July Cup trip and another uphill finish was not in his favour at all – it was amazing that he started favourite – but York’s flat five furlongs on fast ground should play to all his strengths.

In Dubai in March on a similar flat five furlong track, he beat Sole Power by two and a half lengths on two occasions and although Sole Power won this race in 2010 and has to rate one of the biggest threats to Shea Shea, it is hard to see him confirming the Royal Ascot form with the South African sprint star.

Sole Power’s stable companion, Slade Power, finished just in front of both Shea Shea and Sole Power in the Darley July Cup, but over a flat five furlongs it’s hard to see him threatening Shea Shea, but he has strong claims for a place nonetheless.

On ratings these three are well clear of their 17 rivals (and Shea Shea is clear of the Eddie Lynam-trained pair), but a few others must be taken into account and it must be remembered that when Sole Power won in 2010, he was 100-1 so anything is possible!

Moviesta is a rapidly improving three-year-old and he won really well at Goodwood last time. Again he has strong place claims at least.

Swiss Spirit, whom Moviesta comfortably beat at Goodwood, has some good form to his name this season and if he can break better from the stalls is another with place claims.

Spirit Quartz was a good second in this race last year, but may find the likely fast ground on Friday against him, while Kingsgate Native can never be ruled out and will have the ground, trip and track in his favour on Friday.

He won this race way back in 2007 and is capable of running a big race.

Tickled Pink also has definite place claims.

She was well beaten behind Moviesta at Goodwood, but was badly hampered that day and should find York a much more suitable track.

She loves fast ground and this front-running filly could be hard to peg back (though if near his best, Shea Shea should take care of her).

It promises to be a fantastic spectacle and it’s live on Channel 4 at 3.40pm.