Secret looks pearl of a bet in wide-open sprint

THERE IS definitely an element of déjà vu about this afternoon’s King’s Stand Stakes (3.45pm) with last year’s first four home all lining up again.

Sole Power, victorious 12 months ago, bounced back from a couple of average runs in Dubai to win last month’s Palace House Stakes at Newmarket.

The globe-trotting seven-year-old will be running in this Group One prize for a fourth consecutive season and the more the ground dries out, the better his chance. However, even though he’s won eight of his 40 starts under rules, he has never managed to put back-to-back wins together and that worries me.

South African-raider Shea Shea was only narrowly beaten by Sole Power last year and after a bold showing in the Al Quoz Sprint, he looks sure to be bang there again.

Both are currently disputing favouritism with the speedy three-year-old Hot Streak, who has decent course winning form and comes here on the back of an impressive Temple Stakes win at Haydock.

It’s possible to make a strong case for any of the three. But the most off-putting factor about them all has to be their prices as all of the trio are on offer at shorter than 5/1.

For that reason, I’m keener to take a chance on last year’s fourth PEARL SECRET each-way at 8/1 with Paddy Power. David Barron’s five-year-old can be forgiven his poor showing at Newmarket two starts back as the ground was too lively. He showed up much better last time on soft ground at Haydock behind market leader Hot Streak and re-opposes this afternoon on 2lb better terms for a half-length beating.

The stable had a big sprint winner on the weekend, good ground will hold no fears and he looks the value call in what appears a wide-open renewal.

PEARL SECRET e/w 3.45pm Ascot