sport

Weather worries for Temple runners

Doubts remain over the participation of the first three in the betting for Saturday's Betfred.com Temple Stakes at Haydock due to the weather.

Eddie Lynam's star sprinter Sole Power, who claimed the Group Two prize in 2011 and has run well in defeat for the last two years, has made the journey from Ireland once again, but his preference for fast ground is well documented and rain is forecast.

Leading owners Qatar Racing are represented by exciting three-year-old Hot Streak as well as leading contender Pearl Secret, but that pair look unlikely to line up unless there is a significant ease in conditions.

David Redvers, racing manager for Qatar Racing, said: "They are two horses who would have massive chances, but they don't want firm ground and we're not prepared to risk them if it's not suitable.

"It's been a very difficult situation for the clerk of the course as there is rain forecast and therefore they haven't watered.

"Pearl Secret can handle fast ground, but after the accident he had on the horse walker last year where he suffered a nasty splint bone injury, he is too good a horse to risk and I'm almost certain he won't run.

"Hot Streak is a horse who goes on any ground, but as is the case with Pearl Secret, everything points towards Royal Ascot and we don't want to jar him up. He will only run on Saturday if there is some ease in the ground.

"We're not going to risk their careers for a Group Two at Haydock."

Both Hot Streak and Pearl Secret finished behind Sole Power in the Palace House Stakes three weeks ago, finishing third and eighth respectively as the Lynam runner scooped the Newmarket prize.

"Kevin (Ryan) is very happy with Hot Streak, he's come on a lot for the run at Newmarket and he thinks he's possibly the best horse he's ever trained," said Redvers.

Lynam does not want to risk losing the chance of a second win in the King's Stand Stakes at the Royal meeting next month by running Sole Power in ground softer than ideal this weekend.

"We'll just have to wait and see. It's not ideal as the horse has to travel and the owners have to travel on a day when they've got runners in Ireland," said Lynam.

"He's not the same horse with cut in the ground, but he's a seven-year-old gelding and he ran well in the Nunthorpe last year on slow ground to be third and was also third on slower ground in the King's Stand as a five-year-old.

"He probably runs to about 80 per cent of his ability. It's a case of where do I draw the line.

"I don't want to bottom him with Royal Ascot on the horizon."

Robert Cowell's Kingsgate Native won this race in 2010 and 2013 and is back to defend his crown having pushed Sole Power all the way at Newmarket.

Kingsgate Native is owned by Cheveley Park Stud, who have a second runner in David O'Meara's Smoothtalkinrascal, although his form claims are less clear.

"Kingsgate Native showed he was as good as ever in the Palace House," said Chris Richardson, the stud's managing director.

"We'll carry on racing him until he shows us he's not enjoying it, but he seems to be at present.

"As he ran no race at all at Ascot last year, we haven't even entered him this year. We know he loves Haydock so the plan was to come here and then maybe go straight for the July Cup.

"Smoothtalkinrascal ran really well up at Ayr but just never showed up in France. Ryan (Moore) said he just flopped out of the stalls and the race was over."

Jim Goldie's stable stars Hawkeyethenoo and Jack Dexter are regulars in Group sprints these days but both disappointed in the Duke of York last time out.

"They both disappointed at York and I've done all the tests to see if I could find a reason why they shouldn't have run, but I haven't found anything," said Goldie.

"They seem well. They've been down at the veterinary college and have had full MOTs and they seem fine.

"It was disappointing how they ran but hopefully they'll bounce back."

Roger Varian's Justineo, the David Elsworth-trained Justice Day and Mirza from Rae Guest's yard complete the 10-strong field.