Sole Power (white) comes clear of Kingsgate Native (red) with another former Group 1 winner Tangerine Trees (yellow) finishing thirdPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Sole powers to supreme Palace House success
Report: Newmarket (Rowley Mile), Saturday
Pearl Bloodstock Palace House Stakes (Group 3) 5f, 3yo+
LAST season Mayson won the Palace House en-route to a five-length success in the Group 1 July Cup and this year another proven Group 1 performer, 2010 Nunthorpe winner Sole Power, took the win in impressive fashion.
Johnny Murtagh sat off the blistering early gallop, set by 2011 winner of the Palace House and another subsequent Group 1 winner in Tangerine Trees, with Bogart, Heeraat, Swan Song and Bungle Inthejungle all contesting the lead.
Entering the final three furlongs it became apparent just how well Murtagh was travelling on the six-year-old, oozing confidence and keeping the 7-2 joint-favourite well balanced into the dip, before finally going after Tangerine Trees who had seen off all of those that tried to live with him during the early stages.
Once set after the leader there was hardly a moment's doubt as Sole Power came through to sweep up Tangerine Trees inside the final furlong. Kingsgate Native, himself a dual Group 1 winner - in the 2007 Nunthorpe and 2008 Golden Jubilee - looked a danger, finishing fast and taking second close home from the gallant front-runner.
However he never looked like getting to the winner, who won by a length, but Kingsgate Native put a length and a quarter between himself and Tangerine Trees. Shane Kelly, who rode the runner-up, said: "He's always been a decent horse when everything has gone his way and I think the fast pace helped."
With the first three home all Group 1 winners, and with 2010 winner Equiano adding to the run of recent Palace House winners going on to win a Group 1 later the same season, Eddie Lynam will be hoping his stable star can continue the recent trend of the last three seasons and add another Group 1 to his record.
And bookmakers reacted by cutting him to do just that. Paddy Power went 6-1 (from 8) for the King's Stand at Royal Ascot, while BetVictor went 8-1 (from 10) for next month's Group 1. They also cut runner-up Kingsgate Native to 20-1 (from 33) for the same race.
And it is the King's Stand rather than the Golden Jubilee that will be Sole Power's first Group 1 target this season. "He will go for the Temple in which he was just touched off last year by Bated Breath last year having won in the year before," said trainer Eddie Lynam.
"Then he will go for the King's Stand, he was placed in that last year. I may try him in the July Cup, Johnny is begging me to run him over six so I will have to listen to him once, then the Nunthorpe which he has won before, the Abbaye and then it would be nice if he could go to Hong Kong."
"He has brought us all over the world, gives 110 per cent every time. He wants fast ground, five furlongs and when he gets it with a bit of luck in running he is very good."
Eighth in the 2011 King's Stand, Sole Power was third behind Little Bridge last year and connections can take heart from the way he has continued to improve on his placings in the Palace House. Fourth in 2010 and third a year later, Sole Power missed the race in 2012 but continued his progression but winning the 2013 edition in authoritative fashion.