Harry's Angel on track for Haydock sprint test

Harry's Angel (blue) favourite for Saturday's big race
Harry's Angel (blue) favourite for Saturday's big race
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Trainer Clive Cox believes the best is yet to come from Harry Angel as his stable star limbers up for the £260,000 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock Park on Saturday.

Harry Angel, a 7/4 chance with the sponsors, has been favourite for the six-furlong showpiece since capturing the Darley July Cup.

The three-year-old smashed the six-furlong course record at Haydock Park earlier in the campaign when taking Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane Stakes in a time of 1m 8.56s on May 27.

Harry Angel's opponents on Saturday are set to include impressive Prix Maurice de Gheest scorer Brando, plus The Tin Man and Tasleet, who were first and second in the G1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Cox said: "We are very happy with Harry Angel. He has trained really well and, as you can see, he is in a really good frame of mind. We are very much looking forward to Saturday.

"It looks like we are going to have slightly different ground conditions [compared to Haydock Park in May, when the ground was officially Firm], but the track holds no fears as he showed when breaking the track record which we are very proud of.

"Ground wise, he has won on good to soft in the Mill Reef at Newbury last year. I am quite relaxed, but I think all of us would prefer to see less rain than more rain because we have seen how potent he is on a sounder surface.

"It is a Group One and there are a lot of horses who deserve a lot of consideration and respect. That is the same with any race really. I was impressed with Brando in Deauville and his form was pretty good before that when just up behind us in the July Cup.

"There are half a dozen in there that you would give a realistic chance to, as you would expect in a Group One race. The Sprint Cup is always a top-class race and one of the iconic sprints of the season. I am happy with our horse and would not be swapping him for anything.

"Group One races are of such a standard that it is nice to have that ability to give horses gaps between their races. The time from the July Cup to here is a healthy period.

"We were all very excited going into the July Cup and I think Adam's (Kirby, jockey) visible delight when he crossed the line was clear to all. It was not a shock to us and we hoped we could beat Caravaggio. His performance there proved that he is top flight."

Cox continued: "I think being by Dark Angel and with any sprinter, maturity means the potential is there for more improvement. He has grown up and even watching him this morning, he is enjoying the attention. That is down to maturity. He is enjoying his racing and Kevin Harris, who rides him at home, has done a brilliant job on him.


"It is a dream to have a horse of his calibre. It is a family that has done us proud because Xtension was my first Group Two winner and he is from the same family as Harry Angel. That was part of the attraction in the first place when we looked at Harry Angel as a yearling.

"From a personal perspective, I believe there is still more to come from the horse. It won't be up to me if he races next year, but I am just really enjoying this year. I think potentially he could get stronger."

Cox has trained several top-class sprinters in recent years, headed by 2013 July Cup and Diamond Jubilee Stakes hero Lethal Force and last year's King's Stand Stakes victor Profitable.

Asked to compare them with Harry Angel, Cox said: "They are all slightly different. Lethal Force was an amazing horse and holds the record in the July Cup. He was very exciting when we had him.

"This fella [Harry Angel] had a personality that was bit over exuberant to begin with. He is getting the whole idea of the job and now we are seeing the real potential.

"They are all individuals and I love them to bits, along with Profitable and all the other good horses. They are like people and all slightly different characters.

"To begin with, we were confident with Harry Angel that it was going to happen. There were a few setbacks at first because he was tricky in the stalls. I am pleased that is under control because we have worked jolly hard to give him that confidence. That is displayed in his performance.

"I think a sprinter's mentality needs a bit of that explosive temperament. That is what it is all about and containing that is what we are trying to achieve. Finding that balance is what we are trying to do all the time. We have got facilities and great staff, and to achieve the top flight results is what it is all about."