Trainer Clive Cox believes the best is yet to come from Harry Angel as his stable star limbers up for the latest race in the British Champions Series, the £260,000 G1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park (4.10pm) on Saturday 9th September.
Harry Angel has been favourite for the six-furlong Sprint Cup at Haydock Park since capturing a top-class renewal of the G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket on 15th July.
The three-year-old smashed the six-furlong course record at Haydock Park earlier in the campaign when taking G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes in a time of 1m 8.56s on 27th May.
Harry Angel’s opponents on Saturday are set to include impressive G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest scorer Brando, plus The Tin Man and Tasleet, who were first and second in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Speaking from his Lambourn stables, Cox said: “We are very happy with Harry Angel. He has trained really well and, as you can see, he is in a really good frame of mind. We are very much looking forward to Saturday.
“It looks like we are going to have slightly different ground conditions [compared to Haydock Park in May, when the ground was officially Firm], but the track holds no fears as he showed when breaking the track record which we are very proud of.
“Ground wise, he has won on good to soft in the Mill Reef at Newbury last year. I am quite relaxed, but I think all of us would prefer to see less rain than more rain because we have seen how potent he is on a sounder surface.
“It is a Group One and there are a lot of horses who deserve a lot of consideration and respect. That is the same with any race really. I was impressed with Brando in Deauville and his form was pretty good before that when just up behind us in the July Cup.
“There are half a dozen in there that you would give a realistic chance to, as you would expect in a Group One race. The Sprint Cup is always a top-class race and one of the iconic sprints of the season. I am happy with our horse and would not be swapping him for anything.
“Group One races are of such a standard that it is nice to have that ability to give horses gaps between their races. The time from the July Cup to here is a healthy period.
“We were all very excited going into the July Cup and I think Adam’s (Kirby, jockey) visible delight when he crossed the line was clear to all. It was not a shock to us and we hoped we could beat Caravaggio. His performance there proved that he is top flight.
“I think being by Dark Angel and with any sprinter, maturity means the potential is there for more improvement. He has grown up and even watching him this morning, he is enjoying the attention. That is down to maturity. He is enjoying his racing and Kevin Harris [pictured with Harry Angel], who rides him at home, has done a brilliant job on him.
“It is a dream to have a horse of his calibre. It is a family that has done us proud because Xtension was my first Group Two winner and he is from the same family as Harry Angel. That was part of the attraction in the first place when we looked at Harry Angel as a yearling.
“From a personal perspective, I believe there is still more to come from the horse. It won’t be up to me if he races next year, but I am just really enjoying this year. I think potentially he could get stronger.”
Cox has trained several top-class sprinters in recent years, headed by 2013 July Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes hero Lethal Force and last year’s King’s Stand Stakes victor Profitable.
Asked to compare them with Harry Angel, Cox said: “They are all slightly different. Lethal Force was an amazing horse and holds the record in the July Cup. He was very exciting when we had him.
“This fella [Harry Angel] had a personality that was bit over exuberant to begin with. He is getting the whole idea of the job and now we are seeing the real potential.
“They are all individuals and I love them to bits, along with Profitable and all the other good horses. They are like people and all slightly different characters.
“To begin with, we were confident with Harry Angel that it was going to happen. There were a few setbacks at first because he was tricky in the stalls. I am pleased that is under control because we have worked jolly hard to give him that confidence. That is displayed in his performance.
“I think a sprinter’s mentality needs a bit of that explosive temperament. That is what it is all about and containing that is what we are trying to achieve. Finding that balance is what we are trying to do all the time. We have got facilities and great staff, and to achieve the top flight results is what it is all about.
Cox was also keen to pay tribute to Adam Kirby, who has partnered Harry Angel in all six of his races.
The trainer added: “Adam has been involved with us for a long time since he was a seven pound claimer. It is a great delight to watch him ride winners on daily basis. He is a top-class pilot.
“He has been an important person in this horse’s career because, as we know, he wasn’t easy in the stalls to begin with. Adam has been most helpful in achieving that confidence.
“I am also delighted and extremely grateful to Sheikh Mohammed for allowing us to keep Harry Angel. It gives me a lot of pride to have runners in the Godolphin blue.”
The three-day 32Red Sprint Cup gets underway at Haydock Park on Thursday 7th September and runs through to Saturday 9th September, 32Red Sprint Cup Day.
HARRY ANGEL (IRE) FACTFILE
Born: 8th February 2014
Breeding: b c Dark Angel – Beatrix Potter (Cadeaux Genereux)
Breeder: CBS Bloodstock
Trainer: Clive Cox
Jockey: Adam Kirby
- Favourite with the sponsor for the G1 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park, worth £260,000 and staged over six furlongs on Saturday, September 9 (4.10pm).
- Defeated Limato by a length and a quarter in a vintage renewal of the six-furlong G1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket on 15th July .
- Broke the six-furlong course record at Haydock Park in the G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes on 27th May, with a time of 1m 8.56s, after which he was purchased by Godolphin from Peter Ridgers, who won the 2009 Ayr Gold Cup with the Cox-trained Jimmy Styles.
- His two defeats this year came when the length and a half runner-up to Godolphin’s Blue Point in the six-furlong G3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot on 3rd May, his seasonal debut, and when beaten three quarters of a length by Caravaggio in G1 Commonwealth Cup over same distance at Royal Ascot on 23rd June.
- Raced twice as a two-year-old, just failing by a nose to make a winning debut over five furlongs at Ascot on 7th May 2016 and capturing the six-furlong G2 Mill Reef Stakes in good style at Newbury on 17th September that year.
- Adam Kirby has been in the saddle on all of the colt’s six starts.
- Harry Angel was bought by Cox for £44,000 at the Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale at Doncaster in late August, 2015 when consigned by Ireland’s Ballyphilip Stud, whose owners Paul and Marie McCartan also bred Xtension.
- His dam Beatrix Potter is a half-sister to Xtension, trained by Cox to capture the seven-furlong G2 Vintage Stakes as a two-year-old at Goodwood before being sold and going on to win the G1 Champions Mile twice and finishing second in both the Hong Kong Derby and Hong Kong Gold Cup for trainer John Moore.
Race record: Starts: 6; Wins: 3; 2nd: 3; 3rd: –; Win & Place Prize Money: £482,632
About QIPCO British Champions Series
The QIPCO British Champions Series is designed to throw the spotlight on Britain’s best Flat races and will climax on 21st October 2017 with the richest fixture in British racing history, QIPCO British Champions Day at Ascot.
The Series features 35 Flat races staged at ten of the UK’s leading racecourses: Ascot, Doncaster, Epsom Downs, Goodwood, Haydock Park, Newbury, Newmarket’s July Course, Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, Sandown Park and York.
It encompasses the top races at British racing’s key festivals, including the QIPCO Guineas Festival at Newmarket, the Investec Derby Festival at Epsom, Royal Ascot, the Newmarket July Festival, the Qatar Goodwood Festival, the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival at York and the William Hill St Leger Festival at Doncaster.
The QIPCO British Champions Series comprises five easy-to-follow champion categories – Sprint, Mile, Middle Distance, Long Distance and Fillies & Mares.