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Clive Cox dismisses Ascot hoodoo for Harry Angel

11 Jun 2018

Trainer believes four defeats at course have been "a matter of circumstances" before big date at Royal Meeting.

Harry Angel powers to victory in the Darley July Cup. Picture:

Clive Cox in unperturbed that his sprinting star Harry Angel has been beaten in each of his previous four races at Ascot ahead of the colt lining up in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal Meeting on Saturday week.

Harry Angel was acclaimed as the world’s top sprinter at the end of last year after his wins in the Darley July Cup and 32Red Sprint Cup but his defeats at Ascot include a second place in the Commonwealth Cup at the meeting 12 months ago, plus another reverse on QIPCO British Champions Day in October.

“I don’t particularly lose any sleep that he has not got his head in front there, I think it’s more coincidence rather than a serious problem,” Cox said.

“Adam (Kirby) gave him a nice introduction first time out and in his second, to Blue Point, he had a penalty and that race was pretty good form. Then he was just a bit keen in the Commonwealth Cup.

“When he ran in the Champions Sprint the ground was atrocious. I think his defeats have been a matter of circumstances, whether it be the ground or the way the race has panned out.”

While his Ascot reverses may be the only blemish on the record of the Godolphin-owned four-year-old, Cox is of the opinion that his second behind Caravaggio in last year’s Commonwealth Cup was the springboard to the success that was to follow.

He said: “I think it was a turning point in his life, as he took another step forward – not in the race, but after that. He carried on at the top of his game after that defeat.”

A number of familiar faces will line up in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, which forms part of the sprint category of the QIPCO British Champions Series, but the most potent threat to Cox’s stable star could come from two new rivals in the form of the Aidan O’Brien-trained Merchant Navy and Australian raider Redkirk Warrior.

Cox said of the general 5-2 favourite: “He was officially rated the fastest six-furlong horse in the world last year and it will be really exciting taking on the foreign opposition, it makes it more exciting.

“I’ve seen Merchant Navy’s races and he is a seriously impressive horse, but there are some other nice horses in there and I could not single anything out in particular.

“We just hope he produces it on the day and is in the right frame of mind.”