Hot aiming to burn off rivals
View from connections ahead of Tuesday's King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
Hot Streak bids to live up to his name and his reputation when he goes for Group One gold in the King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot on Tuesday.
The three-year-old announced himself on the sprinting stage with an clear-cut victory in the Temple Stakes at Haydock last month and is strongly fancied to take the five-furlong honours.
Kevin Ryan's charge also has excellent course form, having blasted home by five lengths on his previous visit to the Berkshire track in the Cornwallis Stakes last October.
"Hopefully he's the new sprinting sensation and I'm looking forward to seeing him on a track that we know suits him against the best sprinters around. We'll know where we stand at the end of tomorrow," said David Redvers, racing and bloodstock manager for owners Qatar Racing.
The same colours are also sported by Pearl Secret, who was third in this race 12 months ago and was just half a length behind Hot Streak in the Temple.
"He ran a great race in this last year first time out, needing the run and it was a run that puts him bang there," said Redvers.
"This year he is stronger physically and he's training very well. David (Barron) couldn't be happier with the horse and he thinks his horse is the one that's going to take all the beating, so we're very excited."
Edward Lynam has high hopes of Sole Power repeating last year's victory as long as the ground is quick enough for his stable flagbearer.
"We are very pleased with Sole Power and he has been in great form since he won the Palace House Stakes. We hoped to run him at Haydock in the Temple Stakes but the weather beat us," said the County Meath trainer.
"Our only concern is that they have watered at Ascot then subsequently had quite a lot of rain. He wants quick ground but Ascot drains well and we are just hoping that it comes back in time.
"Richard Hughes will ride him for the first time. When Johnny Murtagh retired, we tried to pick a top jockey who we would be able to use regularly and Ryan Moore had done a very good job on him. Unfortunately Ryan has been claimed by Aidan O'Brien, but when Richard is available he kind of picks himself.
"Sole Power has been massive for me. He has run in 16 Group Ones and finished in the frame eight times including two victories. He gives 110 per cent every time he goes to the racecourse. He has had a huge influence on my career, I love him very much and I am very proud of him."
Shea Shea was only caught close home and beaten a neck behind Sole Power 12 months ago.
The Mike de Kock-trained speedster twice finished ahead of Sole Power at Meydan in the spring and connections of the seven-year-old globetrotter are looking for another big run.
"He ran the race of his life last year. He's pretty much in the same form. It just depends how the others in the race are," said de Kock's assistant Steve Jell. "There are a couple of three-year-olds in there to worry about but he's in good form."
Ahtoug comes into contention after finishing a close second in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan in late March when he had Shea Shea a head behind him in third when Sole Power was only seventh.
Although the six-year-old Godolphin-owned entire has not raced since then, his trainer Charlie Appleby reports him to be ready to go to war.
"Ahtoug thoroughly enjoyed himself in Dub ai over the winter and progressed with each run. Every time we thought 'this might be a step too far for him' but every time he responded with another career best performance," said Appleby.
"He really thrived in Dubai and appears to have done the same since he got back to England. He has got a bit to find on last year's UK form but is the joint second top-rated horse in the race and has done nothing but surprise us.
"I am happy that he has been drawn near the favourite (Hot Streak) as you need to be near the speed. What he really wants is plenty of pace and something to aim at, and he should get that."
The Roger Varian-trained Steps continues to make giant strides in the sprinting division, winning a Listed race at Haydock last month before finishing strongly from an impossible position to take fourth place in the Investec Dash at Epsom on Derby day.
"Steps is in great form. He came out of his Epsom race well and I think he would have won that if he'd broken on terms," the Newmarket handler told www.varianstable.com.