Once again one of Britain’s top sprint contests, the Group 1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes, has produced a shock result as 40/1 ‘no-hoper’ Jwala, trained by Robert Cowell, powered to a stunning success ahead of South African sprint king Shea Shea and Irish star Sole Power, writes Elliot Slater.
It was as recently as 2010 that the five-furlong dash, the feature event on the third day of the prestigious four-day York Ebor Festival, threw up a 100/1 winner when none other than Sole Power himself stunned the racing betting world by beating Aidan O’Brien’s hot favourite Starspangledbanner. Sole Power has gone on to prove a high-class sprinter time and again and was closing down on Jwala in the last 50 yards on the rain-softened York circuit.
In 2011 Hayley Turner’s mount Margot Did (20/1) was a surprise winner, while last year Australian mare Ortensia, well fancied in the racing live betting, blasted home to give punters’ some respite in the contest. Few had considered Jwala this time around though, even though she is a half-sister to the outstanding filly Airwave, winner of the 2002 Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes and placed in both the July Cup and Haydock Sprint Cup the following season.
Cowell’s filly had finished last of 17 on her previous start at Glorious Goodwood, but had whacked her head coming out of the stalls and fractured an eye socket, giving her every excuse for the below-par effort. Even though she had won in listed company at York on her previous outing, it was hard to make a case for the daughter of Oasis Dream, but she travelled supremely well throughout the Nunthorpe then stuck to her task with commendable courage when the two big guns came at her fast and late close home.
Jwala may have just one more race this season in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in October before retiring to stud as a particularly valuable and exciting broodmare prospect.