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Harry Angel flying high among star cast for Sprint

4 Oct 2017

Trainer Clive Cox delighted with preparations ahead of tilt at Champions Day

Harry Angel, currently rated the best sprinter in the world on official ratings, heads a superb cast of 25 still in the mix for the QIPCO British Champions Sprint Stakes.

Four other speedsters who have won at least one Group 1 QIPCO British Champions Series race – CaravaggioThe Tin Man (winner of the race last year), Quiet Reflection and Limato – are also still engaged.

Clive Cox is delighted with the well-being of Harry Angel who is no bigger than 6-4 in the ante-post betting to extend his winning sequence on QIPCO British Champions Day having landed the Darley July Cup at Newmarket before following up with a stunning four-length success in the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock last time.

“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.”

Harry Angel, owned by Godolphin, has been beaten on both his starts at Ascot this season – on his reappearance when trying to concede 4lb to Blue Point in the Group 3 Merriebelle Stable Pavilion Stakes and then when runner-up, beaten three quarters of a length, to Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup at the Royal Meeting.

However, Cox does not regard the course as a potential chink in his flagbearer’s armour and says there were mitigating reasons for those reverses.

“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 contention for the £600,000 feature after the latest forfeit stage, revealed today, and with regard to the likely opposition, Cox said: “It was great to see Quiet Reflection back on track last time, along with Caravaggio at the Curragh. 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.”

Others in the frame include Brando, winner of the Prix Maurice de Gheest; Tasleet, who chased home Harry Angel in the Sprint Cup, having split The Tin Man and Limato in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot; Signs Of Blessing and Blue Point.

Blue Point and Limato could clash beforehand in the Group 3 John Guest Bengough Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.

“Blue Point will go to Ascot on Saturday and we will then make a call about QIPCO British Champions Day,” Charlie Appleby, his trainer, said. “He has come out of Haydock very well. Take nothing away from the winner that day – he’s exceptional – but Blue Point was coming off a break and, to be honest, he’d done a bit too well. He has come forward a good bit mentally and physically – it’s woken him up again. Rather than throw ourselves back in at the deep end again and go straight to Champions Day, we thought we’d go to Ascot and take it from there.”

FULL LIST OF RUNNERS

Aclaim (IRE), Brando (GB), Cougar Mountain (IRE), Danzeno (GB), Donjuan Triumphant (IRE), Gifted Master (IRE), Librisa Breeze (GB), Limato (IRE), Magical Memory (IRE), Signs of Blessing (IRE), Tasleet (GB), The Tin Man (GB), Tupi (IRE), Washington DC (IRE), Blue Point (IRE), Caravaggio (USA), Harry Angel (IRE), Intelligence Cross (USA), Second Thought (IRE), Son of Rest (GB), Spirit of Valor (USA), Mix And Mingle (IRE), Quiet Reflection (GB), Alphabet (GB), Dabyah (IRE)