Horse Talk with Simon Jackson:
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CLIVE COX has said he has no concerns about QIPCO British Champions Sprint favourite Harry Angel returning to Ascot where he has been beaten three times in as many attempts.
The Ascot defeats contrast Harry Angel’s otherwise superb record that has seen him win four times at Group level in a career spanning just seven starts.
Harry Angel bids for a Group 1 hat-trick on Champions Day following a stunning four-length success in the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock and an impressive victory in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
The Sprint Cup was the second win at Haydock this year after a Group 2 success in late May for the son of Dark Angel, whose trophy case also includes a Group 2 win at Newbury last term.
“He’s come out of the Haydock race absolutely super and I’m very pleased with him,” Cox said. “The timescale between his races – from July Cup to Haydock, and then from there to Champions Day – is perfect and I’m less concerned about what the ground might be than I was before Haydock.
“Thankfully, he’s won his races very cosily and for that reason I hope we’ve been able to maintain a fairly healthy edge on him.
“Our biggest concern was going to the July Cup after Royal Ascot but that worked out fine,” said Cox whose stable star was runner up to Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, the second defeat of the season there having finished second in a Group 3 contest on his comeback.
“The first time he was making his reappearance and was quite revved up, having only the third race of his career,” Cox said.
“Then, in the Commonwealth Cup, he was so well that he ran a little bit too fresh. It was a very competitive race and Caravaggio was right on the day, but in the meantime I’d like to think we’ve taken a step forward mentally and physically. I could not be more pleased with the progress he has made.”
A total of 25 remain in the line-up for £600,000 feature and despite the high quality of the opposition, Cox is looking forward to the big day.
“It was great to see Quiet Reflection back on track last time, along with Caravaggio at the Curragh,” he said. “Then there’s The Tin Man, whose best performances have been at Ascot – it’s his territory. I have great respect for all the other competitors but I would not be swapping Harry Angel for anything.”
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