Cox hoping for further success with high-class team
Clive Cox is assembling another high-class squad for Royal Ascot having enjoyed notable success at the five-day meeting in recent years.
Group 1 victories with My Dream Boat, Profitable and Lethal Force in the past four seasons have showcased Cox’s ability to train his stars to peak on the big day and the Lambourn trainer is hoping for more of the same this time around.
Commonwealth Cup second-favourite Harry Angel, returning winners My Dream Boat and Profitable, and fast-improving filly Priceless are among the strong squad that is exciting the team at Beechdown Stables.
Cox said: “We don’t have too many horses for the handicaps this year, which is an indication of the strength and number of Group horses we have this time around, along with some nice two-year-olds.
"We’re very much looking forward to Royal Ascot once again – it's treated us well of late.”
It was hard not to be impressed with Harry Angel’s emphatic victory in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes at Haydock last month – a triumph that caught the eye of Godolphin who purchased the colt from Peter Ridgers. The son of Dark Angel is towards the head of the market for the Commonwealth Cup, for which he is a best-price 7-2, while stablemate Tis Marvellous, another intended runner, is a general 33-1 chance.
Cox said: “Harry Angel has come out of the race very well indeed and we were delighted with the performance – he was very impressive in course record time.
“He’s showed a very high level of form throughout his career and I’m very excited about his chances.”
The King’s Stand will be a memorable 60 seconds for owner Alan Spence whatever the outcome. Spence, former owner of last year’s winner Profitable, will see the now Godolphin-owned sprinter take on his filly and stablemate Priceless – a race Cox is looking forward to.
Cox said: “Profitable has trained really well since his run in France and is ready to defend his crown, while Priceless has had a pleasing campaign so far and is very much on target for the race. I'm very pleased with her.
"She has another step up to make at Ascot but it's great when you have a filly in form. Both horses are very impressive individuals."
Of his juveniles, Cox plans to run Koditime in the Norfolk or Windsor Castle, Heartache in the Queen Mary and Prince Of The Dark in the Coventry, and is also hoping a return to Ascot will bring out the best in last year’s Prince Of Wales’s Stakes winner My Dream Boat.
Paul and Clare Rooney’s five-year-old will either attempt to defend his crown in the 1m2f event or contest the Hardwicke Stakes three days later.
Cox said: “We’ve got both options available to us but, if the ground is drying, we would prefer to run on the day when there is slightly easier ground.
“He’s pleasing me with his homework and I hope he can run a big race back at a track we know he likes.”
Cox is a 33-1 shot with Paddy Power in their top trainer without Aidan O'Brien market.
Debt to bypass meeting
One horse who will not be on show at Royal Ascot is Ruth Carr’s stable star Sovereign Debt, with the Huby trainer eyeing Group 2 and Group 3 contests away from Berkshire.
The Group 2 Doom Bar Celebration Mile at Goodwood and Group 3 Betfred Mobile Strensall Stakes at York – both on August 26 – are among the targets later in the season.
Carr said on At The Races: "He might just be a better horse round a bend than on a straight track at Ascot and there are plenty of other races to look at.”
Law aiming for Gold
St Leger hero Harbour Law is on target for the Gold Cup, for which he is a general 25-1 shot, on June 22.
Ian Mongan, husband of trainer Laura Mongan, said: "He’s in good form and is going to Kempton on Friday to do his last proper bit of work. Ascot has come around quickly but we're really excited.
"He was a bit under the weather after the Sagaro Stakes but the race didn't really pan out the way we wanted. The Gold Cup has always been the main target."
Cover heading straight to Stand
David Griffiths has opted to side step Take Cover's Royal Ascot prep in the Listed 188bet.co.uk Achilles Stakes at Haydock on Friday evening – a race the ten-year-old sprinter won last year – and head straight for the King's Stand Stakes on June 20, for which he is generally 33-1.
"I didn't declare him for Haydock because of the rain forecast and hopefully it will be a different story in a couple of weeks and he gets the quick ground he wants at Royal Ascot," the trainer said.