Wesley Ward’s Golden Pal blasted to the front early in Friday’s Nunthorpe S. (G1) at York, but by halfway, speedy sophomore filly Winter Power was already grabbing the free ticket to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1). The 9-1 chance drove clear while the 5-2 Golden Pal tired to seventh.
Based in North Yorkshire with Tim Easterby, Winter Power had advertised herself as a horse-for-the-course. The King Power Racing runner captured two listed stakes here over this five-furlong trip, defeating males in both. A brilliant wire-to-wire winner of the May 13 Westow S. versus fellow three-year-olds, she most recently beat older males in the July 10 City Walls S. Her only loss this season came at Royal Ascot, where she wound up ninth over a stiffer five furlongs in the King’s Stand (G1).
Winter Power found her optimal conditions on the “Knavesmire” Friday. Taking up a forward position toward the middle, she readily kept tabs on Golden Pal who was dashing on the far side. Liberty Beach was also prominent between them, but could not pick up from that spot. Winter Power, on the other hand, was able to go that early pace and then kick on. Traveling best of all under Silvestre de Sousa, Winter Power seized control from Golden Pal and held sway by 1 1/4 lengths in a final time of :56.72 on the good-to-firm turf.
The 40-1 Emaraaty Ana got up for second to complete the all-Yorkshire exacta. Dragon Symbol rallied on the inside to take third. Suesa, the 9-4 favorite after her dominant display in the July 30 King George (G2), didn’t have the clearest run from far back but made belated headway in fourth.
Next came Chil Chil; a one-paced Liberty Beach; Golden Pal; Arecibo; the two-year-old Chipotle; Dakota Gold; Moss Gill; Bedford Flyer; Ubettabelieveit; and Que Amoro. Rohaan was scratched in light of the firmish ground.
Ward, who has described Golden Pal as the best he’s trained, was searching for answers according to racingtv.com:
“Frankie (Dettori) said he was waiting for the turn. I made no secret of it that I was very confident coming into the race, but the winner ran a tremendous race and we’re disappointed.
“I think so highly of this colt of course I’m disappointed, it just wasn’t his day. I still think he’s a tremendous racehorse. We’ll see if any answers come up when we get him back and see what we find. We were just beaten.
“From everything I’ve seen of this colt, he’s just awesome so when he runs a race like today it’s a head scratcher. We’ll see what transpires, I haven’t lost faith in him.”
Winter Power was fulfilling Easterby’s high regard for her. The daughter of Bungle Inthejungle was hit-or-miss as a juvenile, but ended 2020 on the upswing with victories in the Harry Rosebery S. at Ayr and the Cornwallis (G3) at Newmarket. She resumed with a sparkling performance in the aforementioned Weston, fueling hopes that she’d reach a much higher level. Her scorecard now stands at 13-7-0-2.
Bred by Newlands House Stud in Ireland, Winter Power sold for €90,000 as a Goffs Orby yearling. The bay is a half-sister to stakes-winning sprinter Hay Chewed and stakes-placed Flying Sparkle. Their dam, the Titus Livius mare Titian Saga, hails from the family of Irish highweight Devonshire.
Winter Power will set her sights on a title defense next summer. The latest two-time Nunthorpe champion, recently retired Battaash, made a special appearance at York Friday, and fans gave the Shadwell gelding an enthusiastic reception.