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Hughes Turns Up The Power In Dubai

Photo: Erika Rasmussen (www.erikarphotography.com)

Sole Power (GB) has been among Europe`s leading sprinters for many seasons but he has never excelled in Dubai.

All that changed at Meydan when the eight-year-old came with a beautifully timed run to win the Group 1 $1 million Al Quoz Spring Empowered by IPIC under Richard Hughes

It was the horse`s 22nd run in a Group 1 race and his first victory in Dubai, which came at his ninth attempt.

Hughes showed exemplary timing in delivering the Edward Lynam-trained gelding from the rear. Last year`s winner, Amber Sky (AUS), set blistering early fractions and fought hard to resist fellow Hong Kong challenger Peniaphobia (IRE) throughout the last 200m.

Peniaphobia eventually reeled in the trail-blazer inside the final furlong, yet no sooner had he seized the advantage than Hughes pounced closest to the stands` rail.

Owned by Sabena Power - whose husband, David, is founder of the Irish bookmaking giant Paddy Power - Sole Power tallied by a half-length from Peniaphobia, who had the same margin in hand of Green Mask (USA).

Frankie Dettori, who rode Green Mask, felt his horse would have finished closer had he not been isolated from the early pace in stall one. Amber Sky held on for fourth place ahead of Bundle Of Joy (AUS) and Sir Maximilian (IRE). The winner was timed at 57.24 seconds over the 1000m trip.

Hototo (GB) and Lancelot De Lac (ITY) were slow from the stalls and trailed throughout.

Sole Power could finish only seventh in this race 12 months ago, after which he blitzed to a Group 1 double in England. He also ran without zest when finishing twelfth of 16 runners in a Group 3 won by Sir Maximilian over the course and distance three weeks earlier.

"I dont know what Eddie (Lynam) has done to him since, but it worked," Hughes joked afterwards. "To ride any winner is a good feeling but big ones on this night take some beating."

Lynam was overjoyed to see his stable star finally come good in the desert. "He`s put his CV up for (top European sprinter) today," he said.

"He has just come to himself, and on his day he was always capable of doing this."

This was the last time Hughes, a multiple champion jockey in England, will ride on Dubai World Cup night. He recently announced he is to retire from the saddle at the end of the season to embark on a training career.

Hughes will be the second high-profile rider Sole Power will see off into retirement. Sole Power was the regular mount of Johnny Murtagh until that jockey`s retirement in 2013 - but there is no sign of the evergreen sprinter joining them.

Sole Power remains an explosive character - as he showed when carting his exercise rider on the all-weather training track here three days before the race.

He will now return to Lynam`s stable in Ireland to be prepared for the King`s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Quotes for the Group 1 US$1m Al Quoz Sprint empowered by IPIC


Richard Hughes (jockey, Sole Power (GB), 1st) – “After his last start I wasn’t strong on him as he was lacklustre that day. Edward (trainer Lynam) has worked on him and whatever he has done has paid off. Any winner is special but to win here is great.”

Doug Whyte (jockey, Peniaphobia (IRE), 2nd) – “He’s run a good race and has run true to form but the winner was too good on the day.”

Frankie Dettori (jockey, Green Mask (USA), 3rd) – “I was drawn one whereas the winner was toward the middle and the second was over in 16, so he’s run a huge race from that gate.”

Ryan Moore (jockey, Amber Sky (AUS), 4th) – “He has led and been taken on. He’s done very well.”

Joao Moreira (jockey, Bundle of Joy (AUS), 5th) – “At halfway he was really under pressure and he did very well to finish where he did in fifth.”

Kieran Fallon (jockey, Sir Maximilian (IRE), 6th) – “I didn’t break as well as I did last time and that makes a difference.

“In these close finishes, it can be the difference between winning and losing. Not that we would have won, but we should have been a lot closer than we were. We’ve beaten Sole Power before.”

Ian Williams (trainer, Sir Maximilian (IRE), 6th): “Ran great, just got a little out of his ground and had to make up an awful lot of ground from behind. Finished strong, there will be better days.”

Paul Hanagan (jockey, Farmah (USA), 7th) – “They went very hard up front which I knew they would. My filly struggled to go the pace. She came home well. She ran well.”

William Buick (jockey, Ahtoug (GB), 8th) – “They went very fast. He was struggling from the start, to be honest. Listen, he’s an older horse now and he was taking on good horses, so maybe he was not quite up to it.”

Martin Dwyer (jockey, Stepper Point (GB), 9th) – “He broke sharply. They went some gallop and he couldn’t live with them.”
Andrew Mullen (jockey, Caspar Netscher (GB), 10th) – “He was out of his comfort zone from the start. He’s really a six-furlong (1200m) horse.”

Christophe Soumillon (jockey, Via Africa (SAF), 11th) – “I think she could have done with another run (before). She also found the ground a bit soft for her.”

James Doyle (jockey, Mirza (GB), 12th) – “Unfortunately he missed his prep run so that puts you on the back foot. I was just always outpaced.”

Edwin Maldonado (jockey, Distinctiv Passion (USA), 13th) – “He was on the pace as we wanted but he found the track a little bit ‘slippy’ and he tired.”

Adam Kirby (jockey, Caspian Prince (IRE), 14th) – “He was covered in baby oil and jumped straight out of his girth. The saddle was on his tail after 30m. It was a nightmare.”

Luke Morris (jockey, Hototo (GB), 15th) – “He was very silly at the start. He’s never done it before but he threw the race away at the gate.”

Jim Crowley (jockey, Lancelot Du Lac (ITY), 16th) – “He’s run well at the Dubai World Cup Carnival but might have just gone over the top. He might not be up to this level anyway.”