Harry Angel fit and firing for defence of Sprint Cup title after Ascot horror
Harry Angel, brilliant winner of the 32Red Sprint Cup at Haydock last September, is firmly on course to defend his Group 1 title on Saturday week after recovering from the injury he suffered in the starting stalls at Royal Ascot.
The Godolphin-owned four-year-old made an explosive start to his 2018 campaign when slamming Brando by two lengths in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes in May under regular rider Adam Kirby.
He was duly sent off 5-2 favourite for the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot the following month, but could finish only 11th of 12 behind Merchant Navy after catching his hind leg in the stalls, meaning he set off lengths adrift of his rivals.
He was lame with a cut on his near-hind fetlock when he returned to Clive Cox’s stable.
Harry Angel wasn’t ready to bid for a second successive July Cup last month – he beat Limato by a length and a quarter in the race in 2017 – but has pleased his trainer in recent weeks as he builds up to return at Haydock.
“He suffered a leg injury at Royal Ascot,” Cox said. “He is now on target for the Haydock Sprint Cup and I’m very pleased with him. We’ve given him plenty of time to recuperate. He’s fine.”
Harry Angel, winner of five of his ten career starts, has put up two of his best performances at Haydock, and is unbeaten in two visits to the Merseyside track.
Cox said: “He has performed exceptionally well at Haydock on his two previous starts there. He broke the track-record when winning the Sandy Lane Stakes last May, and was very impressive in the Sprint Cup.
“This was the logical plan after we had to miss the July Cup last month. We’ll get Haydock out of the way first, and take things one step at a time before deciding upon targets for later in the season.”
Harry Angel is generally 5-2 favourite for the Sprint Cup, ahead of 7-1 shots The Tin Man and Blue Point.
Limato, who returned to winning form with a comfortable success in the Listed Hopeful Stakes at Newmarket last Saturday, is a 10-1 chance with most bookmakers.
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