Paddy’s about as reliable as Paolo Di Canio when it comes to picking winners. But he’s been inside the ropes for Sole Power’s two Group One victories so far – and gives the Paddy Power Blog the inside track on his family’s Prix de l’Abbaye bid at Longchamp on Sunday.
By Paddy Power | Prix de l’Abbeye preview
I’m a Sole Man…….doo doo doo, de doo doo doo (works better if you sing this rather than just read it).
There are only three Group 1, five-furlong sprints in Europe and Sole Power has won two of them – the 2010 Nunthorpe (at 100/1), and this year’s King’s Stand at Royal Ascot.
So we know one thing – he’s bloody fast.
Sunday’s Prix de l’Abbaye is the only one that’s missing from the CV – but I’m pretty confident that we can complete a Parisian smash and grab.
Now I can hear some of you (mainly Paddy Power staff) talking through your pockets: “If he’s so good why does he ever get beaten?
It’s well known that ‘Solo’ (his nickname) is best on fast ground, coming off a strong pace. Just look at his performance in the King’s Stand Stakes (below) at Royal Ascot in June. He passes about 12 horses in the last furlong to just get up on the line.
There’s always an excuse, and they’re always valid. I think the real reason is that with a five- furlong race (especially at Group 1 level) everything has to drop right for you, and everyone has their day.
This year, the Nunthorpe Stakes at York saw torrential rain change the going overnight and he was still only beaten half-a-length into third by Jwala. I’m pretty sure if the race had been run 24 hours earlier – we’d have won.
He was drawn on the wrong side in the Al Quoz Sprint this year in Dubai and the 2012 King’s Stand Stakes and got no luck at all in running in the 2011 Prix de l’Abbaye.
To be fair though, lady luck has probably been looking down on him for his two Group 1 wins.
But I honestly think that Sole Power has left behind four Group 1s through bad luck.
Johnny Murtagh says he’s like an elastic band, you just hold, hold, hold and when you think you’re too far behind, let go. He has this devastating burst of speed that only lasts about 150 or 200 yards, but with a clear run you’d always back him to get there.
Here’s what will happen
We’ll be drawn somewhere around stall eight. They say you need to be drawn low but because we’re a hold up horse we can be too low (if you don’t believe me, watch the 2011 Prix de l’Abbaye when we were in box two and must have been the unluckiest loser of all time.
The weather will be balmy and the ground will be dry (I hope). They’ll go a ridiculously fast pace and Murtagh will have Solo settled somewhere middle to back. He’ll pull him out about a furlong from home and then BOOM!….go and collect.
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