Newmarket, England // Slade Power rewarded Darley's faith when he ran out an easy winner of the July Cup on Saturday.
Slade Power added to his dominance of the European sprinting scene by becoming the fourth horse this century to complete the Royal Ascot-Newmarket double by beating outsider Tropics by a length and a half. Gregorian, representing Princess Haya of Jordan, was third ahead of American raider Undrafted.
The breeding operation of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, announced on Tuesday Slade Power had been sold and is to race in Australia in November.
First, a trip to the north of England in early September beckons and Slade Power will be aimed at the Sprint Cup at Haydock Park.
“We have eight weeks until Haydock, and then eight weeks until Australia,” trainer Edward Lynam said. “I’m looking forward to taking him to Melbourne. It will be his final race. Today has proved he is the best sprinter in Europe. The obvious step is to make him the best sprinter in the world, so what better than go to Australia and try to beat them on their own patch.”
Australian sprinters have dominated Europe since Choisir burst onto the world stage at Royal Ascot in 2003 but there are signs the tide is turning. Gordon Lord Byron, another Irish sprinter, won a Group 1 sprint in March at Randwick and winning jockey Wayne Lordan was keen for a shot at riding for the title of world champion now Hong Kong’s Lord Kanaloa has retired.
“He’s really stepped forward this year and it’s great to get a second Group 1,” Lordan said.
“I don’t think Australia will be a problem – he travels well and he’ll handle any ground. It will take a very good horse to chin him down there, although they have a different way of racing.” Sheikh Mohammed last won the July Cup in 1988 with Soviet Star, and Godolphin have never won the race.
UAE-owned horses dominated the undercard yesterday. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid’s Estidhkaar put down a marker for next year’s English 2000 Guineas victory in the Group 2 Superlative Stakes under Paul Hanagan, while Godolphin’s Golden Town won the opening handicap for Silvestre de Sousa and Saeed bin Suroor.
There was also a success for Sheikh Ahmed bin Rashid at York, where Farraaj picked up the 55th running of the Heritage Handicap.
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