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Kirby keeps top ride on Godolphin recruit Harry Angel

Adam Kirby will stay on Harry Angel at Ascot
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Adam Kirby's special relationship with Harry Angel will see him keep the ride in next week's red-hot Commonwealth Cup despite the sprinter's sale to Godolphin.

Kirby could have been expected to move aside for Godolphin-retained rider James Doyle for one of the hottest races of the royal meeting following the ownership change.

But Kirby's familiarity with the colt is considered integral to his chance of downing key rivals Caravaggio and Blue Point.

Harry Angel had problems at the stalls last season and had to be withdrawn from a race at Glorious Goodwood but has still managed to develop into one of the most exciting young sprinters in Britain after his latest win in the Group 2 Sandy Lane Stakes in track record time.

That Haydock success set Harry Angel up for a showdown with another Godolphin colt, the Charlie Appleby-trained Blue Point, who beat him in the Pavilion Stakes in May in receipt of 4lb, and Ballydoyle's Caravaggio in what could be one of the highlights of the week.

After Godolphin confirmed the riding arrangements, trainer Clive Cox said: "I'm delighted Adam is riding Harry Angel. He's ridden him all along and it's great that we can put that knowledge together.

"Harry Angel is 4lb better off than our previous meeting in the Pavilion. Clearly we have come forward from that. That was only his third ever start.

"He produced an impressive performance in track record time in the Sandy Lane and we've been thrilled with him ever since."

Harry Angel is a top-priced 7-2 behind general even-money favourite Caravaggio. Blue Point, available at 11-2, has not run since he returned in the Ascot Group 3 race which he won by a length and a half and Appleby rates him his best chance of the 20 runners he could have at the meeting.

"He's done particularly well since winning the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot, and the Commonwealth has been his target since last autumn," he said.

"Blue Point has always been at the top table. He knows nothing else and he's never been out of the first three in seven starts. He's my best chance next week."

Appleby is set to include Coronation Cup runner-up Frontiersman in his team and plans to aim him for the Hardwicke Stakes. The colt was pitched from a handicap win into the Group 1 contest in which he chased home Highland Reel.

"He's still very raw," Appleby said. "He has come out of Epsom very well and is going the right way at present.

"It was a big step up for him in the Coronation Cup, as he's very babyish in some ways. But he coped, and I feel he'll be more comfortable back on a conventional course such as Ascot.

"A major factor in his favour is that he has proved himself competitive in Group 1 company, and often you need to be a Group 1 horse to win the Hardwicke," he said.

The going at Ascot was good, good to firm in places, yesterday after a dry, warm day.

Clerk of the course Chris Stickels said: "We watered the straight and round course, putting 10mm on the straight and 7mm on the Old course. 

"According to the forecast it looks like it is going to be a dry, warm week through until next Wednesday at least, with high pressure dominating. 

"We will keep monitoring the situation and possibly water again Thursday or Friday. We're aiming to start the meeting on a mixture of good and good to firm."

Commonwealth Cup entries

His familiarity with the sprinter is considered integral to his chance of downing key rivals Caravaggio and Blue Point
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