It was business as usual in the world of speed, with the accent on business. Slade Power, trained by Edward Lynam in Co Meath and owned by an Irish bookmaking family, pretty much established himself as the best sprinter in Europe as he added the July Cup to last month’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes.
But if the £289,000 first prize was another fine payday for his current connections, it was potentially an even better one for those who will manage him in the future.
Earlier in the week, Sheikh Mohammed bought the five-year-old as a potential stallion for next year, and though the horse will continue to race in the colours of his eponymous breeders, David and Sabena Power, the sheikh has secured for his bloodstock empire a well-related, proven top-class performer whose CV may yet gain international lustre. He has the Melbourne Sprint at Flemington in November as his final target.
The son of Dutch Art, himself a well-regarded young sire, changed hands for a price not made public, but it will have reduced his £1 million earnings to back-pocket change. The ugly duckling who failed to find a buyer at £5,000 as a yearling has emerged as a swan and has made a lot of people happy in the process: the sheikh, the Powers and even the punters, who made him favourite at Royal Ascot and again here, a well-backed 7-4. Slade Power has now taken both the summer’s six-furlong Group One contests by daylight, and though this race was slightly messy, in that the field split into two groups across the track, he was always in control after hitting the front before the furlong mark.
He came in with a length and a half in hand of 66-1 shot Tropics, with Gregorian (12-1), a short head behind, and US raider Undrafted fourth ahead of Cougar Mountain and Spanish challenger Noozhoh Canarias.
“He has really stepped forward this year,” said rider Wayne Lordan. “He’s not a keen-running sort, he just travels really well in your hands and you can ride him just behind the pace. I don’t think Australia will be a problem. They have a different way of racing, but it will take a good horse to chin him down there.”
Slade Power’s final race in these parts will be the Sprint Cup at Haydock in September. “He’ll be on the plane straight after that,” said Lynam. “The Australian sprinters have come here and dished it up to us, and we’d like to take them on in their back yard. He’s proved he’s the best in Europe and we’d like him to prove he’s the best in the world.”