Edward Lynam is already looking towards the York Ebor Festival with Sole Power after he regained the winning thread at Haydock on Saturday.
The Irish handler was thrilled to see his stable star silence the doubters with a superb display in a vintage renewal of the betfred.com Temple Stakes, and another crack at the Nunthorpe Stakes – in which he sprung a 100/1 shock last summer – is the primary objective.
All of the pre-race talk on Merseyside surrounded Hungarian superstar Overdose, nicknamed ‘The Budapest Bullet’ having suffered defeat just once in a 16-race career.
But while he was a spent force soon after halfway, South African Keagan Latham sat steady on 8-1 shot Sole Power and produced him with a superb late flourish to beat last year’s winner Kingsgate Native by three-quarters of a length.
“Anyone who thought he fluked the Nunthorpe can think again,” said Lynam.
“There were the winners of the last four Nunthorpes in that race and luckily it was our turn, which is the way with sprinters.
“Keagan gave him a lovely ride and I’m delighted the horse has shown the doubters.
“He’ll go to the posh place (Royal Ascot) for the King’s Stand, but the race we want to win again is the Nunthorpe.”
Another with York’s showcase summer fixture on the agenda is Harlestone Times, who gave John Dunlop options after chasing down the Mark Johnston-trained Nave in the Brighton Argus Handicap at Goodwood.
“Ted Durcan told me he’d get two miles so we might have some fun with him,” reported Dunlop.
“There might be a mile and a half handicap at Ascot for him, and Ted said he could be an Ebor horse.”
There was quality action on Knavesmire at the weekend and Eddie Ahern stole the show with a terrific 117-1 treble, highlighted by Masamah’s victory in the feature sportingbet.com Sprint.
The jockey had to be at his strongest on the Kevin Ryan-trained speedster to hold off Doctor Parkes and Celerina by half a length and a neck respectively.
Races like the Wokingham at Royal Ascot and the Investec-sponsored ‘Dash’ at Epsom could now be on the winner’s agenda.
“He ran a great race from the draw he had at Chester so this was not a big surprise,” said Ryan.
“He’s a lovely horse. I was quite confident he’d run a big race.
“I’ll have a chat with Marwan (Koukash, owner) and then we’ll decide where we go next.
“He’s relaxed well there but I don’t see any problem of going over six furlongs in the future.
“I’m delighted for Marwan – racing needs people like him.”
Ahern also took the two main supporting races with Times Up (5-2 favourite) winning over a mile and three-quarters for the first time in the Listed Stowe Family Law LLP Grand Cup.
John Dunlop’s five-year-old saw the trip out well, leading over two furlongs from home and galloping on too strongly for Theology for a four-length verdict.
Ahern began his winning spree with a solid victory on Chachamaidee (11-4) in the sportingbet.com Conditions Stakes.
The rider had to keep the Henry Cecil-trained filly up to her work to strike by a length and a half from the favourite Kakatosi.
It was also a good day for Ryan.
The North Yorkshire trainer saddled Brocklebank (100-30) to take the Yorkshire Regiment EBF Median Auction Maiden Stakes, as well as striking with Our Jonathan at Chester.
Richard Fahey, the top trainer at York, did not leave empty-handed either as Common Touch (7-2 favourite), part-owned by race committee chairman Nicholas Wrigley, followed up his recent course-and-distance success in the Sportingbet And Yorkshire Evening Post Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien dominated the Irish Guineas meeting at the Curragh, winning both Classics, with Roderic O’Connor bouncing back to form in the 2000 Guineas on Saturday.
The Galileo colt struggled in the Newmarket equivalent behind the mighty Frankel, but allowed to dictate his own terms under the trainer’s son Joseph, he kept pulling out more to fend off Richard Hannon’s raider Dubawi Gold.
O’Brien jnr, who turns 18 today, was enjoying his first taste of Classic glory, and said: “I owe the owners a big thanks for giving me this opportunity.
“Dad had him ready and he picked up from the three-furlong pole.
“That’s about my 60th winner now and this is what you dream of.”
Misty For Me also put a Newmarket flop behind her in the Irish 1000 Guineas, accounting for stablemate Together by three-quarters of a length as a well-supported 5/1 shot, but it was So You Think who put up the star performance of the weekend.
O’Brien’s giant Australian import made mincemeat of his Tattersalls Gold Cup rivals to tee up a crack at the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
Without much encouragement from the saddle, the five-year-old pulled four and a half lengths clear of Godolphin’s classy Campanologist, while multiple winner Famous Name was well beaten in third.
His trainer said: “Ryan was delighted with him. The minute he asked him he responded immediately. The plan was here, and then the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.
“It was important that Ryan got a sit on him. He is an incredible horse. When you look at him in races you notice that the others are flat to the boards around him.
“He’d have no problem winning a mile Group One race.
“We’ll take it one race at a time with him and as regards riding plans we’re lucky to have some top-class riders around.”