Wednesday, January 29, 2020
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Al Quoz Sprint: Banker of the day needs to be wary of Sole Power

Shea Shea can gain back-to-back wins in the Al Quoz. Twelve months ago, he captured this turf dash after having prepared with a win in the Meydan Sprint on Super Saturday, and he won that event again three weeks ago, a sure sign that he was right on schedule.

One of eight World Cup runners from Mike de Kock’s powerful stable, he looks the banker of the day on form, but beware — a race like this takes just a minute and there is little room for error. Give him a smooth run, and he wins again, but even the biggest of stars can become an unlucky loser in a sprint, where positions are at premium throughout.

Shea Shea won by three parts of a length last year, when the 2010 winner Joy And Fun took second, and Shea Shea’s arch rival Sole Power came home in fourth place. The trio meet again on Saturday and, though he is now 11 years old, Joy And Fun cannot be dismissed, though a bigger danger seems to be Sole Power.

He also ran a good prep race for this when finishing fourth to Shea Shea on Super Saturday. Shea Shea normally beats Sole Power but the tables were turned when they met in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot last summer, as the Irish sprinter reached the winning post a neck sooner than Shea Shea. There is little between these two speedsters but Shea Shea has a better record overall, and he always thrives here at Meydan.

Ahtoug gave Shea Shea’s fans a bit of a surprise on Super Saturday as he pressed Shea Shea hard all the way to the line and went down by just a head. Ahtoug, winner of the Shergar Cup Dash over this distance at Ascot last term, has plenty of experience at Meydan and seems to be an improving sprinter. Writing him off at the top level may be a mistake.

— The author is a thoroughbred form expert and editor of

Fact Box

Stabell’s Selections

1. Shea Shea

2. Sole Power

3. Ahtoug