Duke Of York: Harry Angel makes satisfactory return at York as Royal Ascot and Everest bids appear on horizon

Riddle byline pic
By Geoffrey Riddle
Wed 16 May 2018

Watch a full replay of the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes won by Harry Angel at York on Wednesday, Niall Hannity's interview with winning trainer Clive Cox and read our report.

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Harry Angel confirmed he is better than ever when he ran out a solid winner of the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes on Wednesday.

The four-year-old son of Dark Angel had not been seen since finishing fourth in the British Champions Sprint in October but was a year older and a litter wiser and held off unpenalised Group One winner Brando by two lengths.

To underpin the strength of the form, the improving Sir Dancealot was a neck behind in third.

Harry Angel threw away his chance on Champions Day when he banged his head against the stalls and was hardly a saint when going in to the starting gate under Adam Kirby ahead of the Group Two contest but connections maintain that last year’s top turf sprinter is better than ever.

“He’s grown up a lot,” Kirby said.

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“He just has that in him. All the good ones have a bit of fire in them. I’m really pleased with his attitude and the way he has done it.

“He got fired up when we first go tin there, and he has those problems in the past. He just does that. I’m pleased we got the run out of him and got the freshness out of him.”

The bookmakers agree. Despite confirming 4-9 favouritism the layers slashed the Godolphin colt for the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot from a best-priced 4-1 in the morning in to no better than 3-1 with 32Red and Ladbrokes. He is ahead in the market of Australian challengers Redkirk Warrior and Merchant Navy, who is now with Aidan O’Brien.

Harry Angel has run four times at Ascot and has never won, but he now will head straight to the royal meeting next month as an improved specimen to the one turned over on Champions Day, in the Commonwealth Cup, the Pavilion Stakes and as a juvenile on debut.

“He has been more grown up and mature this year,” Cox said.

“We’ve not squeezed him off the bridle at home. He’ll come forward. He was far more composed and showed his true form.

"He had to work in the last half-furlong, which will explain him drifting to the left.

“Harry Angel is in the Greenlands (Stakes, May 26) as an insurance.

"He’ll go straight to Royal Ascot now. I’m greatful to Sheikh Mohammed for keeping him in training for another year.

"People mention he's never won at Ascot but I think they are reading too much into it. I'm not looking to run him over five furlongs. Why change a good thing?

"The Everest (in Australia) would be nice if we had a slot but that is not for me to decide and that is a long way off."

Bando had shown his wellbeing in the Abernant at Newmarket last month when he won off the back of a slight wind operation.

Trainer Kevin Ryan was proud of the performance and is eager to return Newmarket and skip a mid-summer clash with the winner.

"I'm delighted with him, it was a fantastic performance and he's run a huge race," Ryan said.

"He's been beaten by a sensational sprinter on the day who was giving us weight.

"He won't go to Ascot, we'll try to box clever. He's in the Greenlands Stakes in Ireland in a couple of weeks.

"We'll then probably skip Ascot and go for the July Cup - he loves Newmarket - and the Prix Maurice de Gheest which he won last year."

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