Art Power so impressive in Friday's opening race

The five-furlong Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap got proceedings underway on day four of Royal Ascot 2020. Despite being a 21-runner handicap for three-year-olds, the contest was turned into something of a procession as red-hot 6/4 favourite Art Power came home three and a half lengths clear.

It was a sixth Royal Ascot winner for trainer Tim Easterby and a seventh for jockey Silvestre de Sousa.

William Easterby, assistant to his father, said: “Art Power is a really nice horse. It was Alastair Donald’s [King Power Racing Manager] decision which race to go for, so we left it up to him and it worked out well.

“Art Power is a horse we have always liked. We took our time with him last year and it seems to have paid off now.

“He won over six furlongs last time, so we will go for either five or six furlongs next time – we will just see what is around.

“This race was the first target. It was great to get a winner for the King Power team as they love this meeting so much. We will see how he is and then go from there.

“Dad loves to support this kind of race and it was a great initiative to have races like these this year.

“Art Power goes on good ground really well, but he goes on soft ground, so he didn’t mind the rain at all.

“We will see how he goes. I don’t think Dad will want to over-face him too soon. Something like the Abbaye could be of interest to him.

“We might have a look and see what there is at Goodwood, as I know that is another important meeting to the King Power team, maybe for the King George Stakes but we will see.

“We are really grateful for King Power’s to support. They are great to train for and we are lucky to get some good horses for them.”

Silvestre de Sousa said: “Art Power is a very talented horse. After he won at Newcastle, we decided to go for this race because we thought we had have a few pounds in hand and we thought we would get the ground that suits him. I think he is still on his way up – I don’t think we will see him in a handicap again.

“I have thought a lot of him since the first day I rode him in the gallops, and he has done nothing wrong. Mentally, he is still very babish but he done very well, and loves the ground.

“I love him this year over 5f, I think he has plenty class to go over any race over 5f. But next year we see him over 6f and 5f as well, I think he is a classy horse in the race today and if he keeps on improving we could see him in Grade 1s.

“I would like to see him next year in the G1 races here; touch wood he will stay in one piece, obviously. I think a lot of him and he is better than a Listed horse. He is still a baby, but he went and done it really professionally, and on the way back he quickened for me and then he stopped – he was waiting for the old ones, you know. In my mind I was hoping to get a lead, but he was so quick out of the gates that none of them could give me a lead, so I just rode the race from the front in the way that suits the horse. He has got two gears – he is quick out and he is quick again.

“This is very important, especially for my team King Power Racing and Top [Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha), obviously his Dad is not here but whatever way he is he will be looking down for his horse, I am so glad to be involved with King Power Racing it is a big operation and getting bigger. This is the place we like to have winners, big winners like this.

“The ground is soft. There’s no bias; I had a walk of the course and it is a little touch quicker around the middle, but there is no bias.”

1.15pm Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap

1 Art Power [drawn 19] Tim Easterby 3-9-00 Silvestre de Sousa 6/4 Fav

2 Keep Busy [21] John Quinn 3-8-10 Cieren Fallon (3) 6/1

3 Dancin Inthestreet [11] William Haggas 3-8-00 John Egan 9/1

4 Lambeth Walk [20] Archie Watson 3-8-10 Oisin Murphy 33/1

6th Royal Ascot win for trainer Tim Easterby

7th Royal Ascot win for jockey Silvestre de Sousa

21 ran

Non-Runner: 6 Will To Win (Self Certificate, Going)

Time: 1m 0.57s

Distances: 3 ½, nk, ½

Tote Win: £2.10 Places: £1.30, £2.90, £3.70 Exacta: £11.90

Click here for audio interviews with William Easterby and Silvestre de Sousa:

http://www.lloydbell.co.uk/access2/index.php?a=UmFjZW5ld3M=&b=31587