'A proper horse' - Clive Cox delight as Wings Of War shows class in Mill Reef
Clive Cox is “hoping and praying” his second Mill Reef winner proves just as good as his first after Wings Of War lived up to his lofty reputation with victory in the Group 2.
The Cox-trained Harry Angel went on to be named champion sprinter the following season after his Newbury success in 2016, and Wings Of War put in a performance that could also see him go to top of the sprinting tree.
Nestled in midfield by Adam Kirby, Wings Of Ward moved past the front-running Hierarchy to lead inside the final furlong to win by a head.
The victory was the biggest winner in Britain for his owner Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, the man behind the rapid progression of top-quality racing in Bahrain.
Paddy Power introduced the son of Dark Angel, who also won the Mill Reef in 2007, at 14-1 for next season’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, and his trainer is full of confidence he can emerge as the latest top sprinter from his Lambourn base. Given the yard have had Lethal Force, Profitable and Golden Horde all strike in top-level sprints in the last few years, that is worth remembering.
Cox said: “He has always given me a great deal of confidence that he’s a proper horse.
“Winning the Flying Childers last week [with Caturra] and the Mill Reef this week has been wonderful.
“I’m delighted for connections and we’ve got a proper horse to look forward to in the six-furlong division next year.
"Mentally, there’s a bit more improvement in him. He was a little bit on edge when he got here, but as the day went on he got more and more at ease with himself and put in a performance to be proud of.
“He was good and was ready for this test. I just hope and pray he turns out as good as our last winner of this race.”. That would be nice."
There was drama at the start as Gis A Sub became unsettled in the stalls. His legs actually appeared over the top of the front of the gate, and he was taken out and withdrawn.
The Ed Bethell-trained Fearby came home third, a head in front of 11-4 favourite Dhabab.
Watch live races through the Racing Post. Log in to your bookmaker account and look on the racecards for eligible races. Click the red 'Watch live now' icon and they're off! Find out how here