Nine years old and still going strong in the top sprints. Sole Power has four QIPCO British Champion Series victories on his CV and is hugely popular, even though his supporters rarely get an easy ride because he is habitually delivered from well off the pace.
Sole Power became only the second 100/1 winner of a Group 1 race in Britain since the pattern was introduced in 1970 when he triumphed in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August 2010.
Owned by the mother of leading Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, the Kyllachy gelding had previously only posted a pair of victories on the Polytrack in his native Ireland.
But he went on to prove in 2011 that his York success was no fluke and enjoyed the second Ppattern success of his career when comfortably landing the betfred.com Temple Stakes at Haydock Park in May.
He could manage only eighth in the next Series sprint, the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, and failed to win again that season, though he looked very unlucky when beaten only a head in third place in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on Arc Day in October after being denied a clear run.
He proved that he retained all his ability in 2012 despite winning only once, in Listed company at Doncaster in September. His most lucrative achievement was when he finished second to the Australian sprinter Ortensia in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night at Meydan in March.
He was narrowly denied a repeat victory in the betfred.com Temple Stakes when going down by a neck to Bated Breath and ran another good race when third in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on June 19.
He followed that with seventh place in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, a win in a Doncaster Listed race and fifth place in the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp on his final start of the season.
He reappeared in March 2013 at Meydan in Dubai when second in a Listed race, warming up for the Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1) on Dubai World Cup Night on 30 March in which he finished a close and very respectable fourth behind South African star Shea Shea.
He returned to Britain for the Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes, which he won well from Kingsgate Native, but could not repeat that form in the Betfred Temple Stakes. Instead, Kingsgate Native took revenge with Sole Power back in fourth.
Tables were turned in spectacular style in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, the second Series sprint, when Sole Power, reunited with Johnny Murtagh, came with a storming late run to collar old rival Shea Shea in the shadow of the post and win by a neck.
He followed that with a step up to six furlongs in the Darley July Cup, but with a blistering pace set by the winner, Lethal Force, he could never get on terms though finished well to take fifth place. After that he finished a close, third, a nose behind his old rival, Shea Shea, and half a length behind the winner, Jwala, in the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York. He was then sixth in the Prix de l’Abbaye on Arc Day at Longchamp on soft ground that would not have suited him. He finished his season in Hong Kong when a fine second in the Group 1 Longines Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin in December.
He resumed in a Group 3 at Meydan in March when fourth behind his old foe, Shea Shea, but then could only manage seventh in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup Night in March, but back in the UK he repeated his Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes victory, again beating Kingsgate Native comfortably.
Then he went back to Royal Ascot for the King’s Stand Stakes and won easily, this time in the hands of Richard Hughes, becoming the first horse to win it twice in a row since Gold Bridge in the 1930s. He was withdrawn from the Darley July Cup because of the soft ground and contracted American ringworm, but still won the Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes after just 10 days in training. He tried six furlongs again in the Betfred Sprint Cup, but had a troubled passage and ran well to finish fourth.
Next it was the Prix de l’Abbaye on ideal ground, but Richard Hughes said he was not in the same form he was earlier in the season and could only finish eighth – he was then put away until 2015, where he began his season in March in Meydan. A disappointing first run seemed like a prep for the real target, another crack at the Al Quoz sprint, but unlike 2014, this time he made no mistake, coming with a withering run to take the big prize.
He followed the well-trodden path of top sprinters in 2015, finishing fifth in the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, fourth in the July Cup and filled the same position in the Nunthorpe just over a month later at York. His consistency was finally rewarded under new rider Chris Hayes following Richard Hughes’ retirement from the saddle, when Sole Power took the Group 2 Derrinstown Stud Flying Five Stakes in a brilliant effort on yielding ground under top weight, holding off Maarek by a head.
He made little impression on his two final starts in 2015 – at Longchamp and Sha Tin – but his first effort in 2016, when beaten a nose and a short head in group three company at Meydan, indicates he retains plenty of zest. Not at his best since but we have probably not heard the last of him.