Harry Angel ends Caravaggio’s unbeaten run to take July Cup
Clive Cox’s three-year-old turns tables from defeat at Royal Ascot
Harry Angel ridden by Adam Kirby (left) wins The Darley July Cup at Newmarket. Photograph: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Harry Angel was a brilliant winner of the Darley July Cup at Newmarket. Clive Cox’s three-year-old had ground to make up on the reopposing Caravaggio on their meeting in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, but reversed the form in some style in the hands of Adam Kirby.
Just as he had done in Berkshire last month, 9-2 chance Harry Angel made a smart start and tracked Caravaggio’s pacemaker Intelligence Cross for much of the six-furlong contest.
Harry Angel hit the front inside the final furlongs but the Aidan O’Brien-trained Caravaggio, the 10-11 favourite to extend his unbeaten record to seven, was already under pressure and never looked like bridging the gap.
Cox’s charge galloped all the way to the line to score by a comprehensive length and a quarter from last year’s winner Limato.
Caravaggio was narrowly beaten to third place by Brando.
Kirby said: “I’ve always had it in my mind he’s the best. He’d have won last time, without a shadow of a doubt, but we were a little bit unfortunate with the way the race turned out.
“I came back saying I should have won last time and it was in the bottom of my heart that today, he’d show them the way it was.
“To be fair to the horse, the race at Ascot really brought him forward and he’s gone from a boy to a man.
“The race today couldn’t have gone any better. He was pretty strong, but I got him half where I wanted him and then he quickened and showed how good he is.
“I can’t express how good he is. I’m really excited. Thanks to everyone for letting me keep the ride on him, it means the world to me.
“I’m delighted for Clive as he’s a top man and he’s always stuck by me.”
Cox said: “He’s always been a special horse. It’s just taken kid gloves to get him going, but we always hoped he’d be Group One material and he is.
“Although he was beaten at Ascot and Adam was quite disappointed, the look in the horse’s eye when he came off the track – it was almost like ‘okay guys, I’m getting this’.
“Coming here today I was very confident in his whole demeanour.
“I’m so thrilled for the whole team at home and for Sheikh Mohammed (owner) on his birthday.
“I’ve not needed an alarm clock since I’ve had this horse and it’s just a joy to be involved with top-flight horses.
“This is what it’s all about. It’s great.”