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'Stronger' Harry to fly high again for Godolphin on Champions Day

J A McGrath

Clive Cox has been making headlines in British racing for the best part of three decades, yet his reputation as a master trainer of sprinters has really only been widely celebrated in the past five years.

Long respected as an able exponent of the art of training racehorses, Cox has recently prepared a series of top class sprinters, who have earned themselves accolades as the best in Europe.

Lethal Force, Reckless Abandon, Profitable, and most recently, Godolphin star Harry Angel, who runs in Saturday's G1 British Champions Sprint at Ascot, have all carried the banner for Cox in some of the best races in the calendar.

For a time, it appeared that Cox's claim to racing fame would be that he fell at the first fence in the 1988 Grand National at Aintree when riding the favourite Sacred Path.

The former jump jockey has put that experience well behind him, however, and like many others with a National Hunt background, he has made his mark training Flat horses.

Cox sent out Harry Angel to win the G1 July Cup three months back, and the son of Dark Angel followed up with a stunning victory in heavy ground in the G1 Haydock Sprint Cup six weeks ago.

"I'm very pleased with him," Cox revealed in an update from Beechdown Farm Stables, his base on the outskirts of Lambourn.

"He's going to Ascot fresh and well. We have a wonderful variety of training facilities here, and we have been topping up his fitness since his last run. If anything, he's stronger than before," Cox said.

"When he went to Haydock in heavy ground, he was in unexplored territory. He had broken a track record on firm ground there earlier in the season, so it was very different. Yet, he was brilliant," he pointed out.

It has already been announced that Harry Angel will stay in training as a four-year-old, a decision that the trainer welcomes.

"I am very proud to be continuing my association with Godolphin," Cox said. "I am also eternally grateful to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed for having the confidence in us to permit Harry Angel to continue his racing career here," he added.

For much of the season, the three-year-old sprinting ranks have been praised for being of great depth, and now a much stronger, more polished Harry Angel has the opportunity to consolidate his position as the best of an impressive bunch.