'Right alongside the best' - Kirby salutes retiring star Golden Horde
Clive Cox and Adam Kirby have paid Commonwealth Cup winner Golden Horde the ultimate compliment by saying he belongs in the same league as their previous star sprinters following his retirement through injury.
A classy juvenile last season when he won the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood before placed efforts at Group 1 level in the Prix Morny and Middle Park, Golden Horde produced a dominant display to win the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in the summer before finishing third in Newmarket's July Cup and the Sprint Cup at Haydock.
Cox had hoped to run him in the Qipco British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Saturday, but an injury prevented that and his racing career has now been curtailed, although a second vocation as a stallion awaits.
"He suffered a tendon issue that proved to be longer term than first realised, so rather than miss a complete season it was with reluctance that it was decided to retire him to stud," said Cox on Monday.
"He was the best horse owned so far by His Highness Sheikh Sultan Al Deen bin Mohammed bin Salman Al Khalifa, who has been deeply involved with all decisions regarding what is best for the horse. We had hoped to finish his second season on a high in the Champions Sprint at Ascot last Saturday but it wasn't possible."
Golden Horde's sire Lethal Force and world champion Harry Angel are among the brilliant speedsters the Lambourn-based Cox and Kirby have had notable success with.
"I've been lucky to ride some top-class sprinters and he was right alongside the very best of them," said Kirby, who partnered the three-year-old in all ten of his starts.
"He was 100 per cent dependable and always delivered his best. It didn't matter what the opposition and ground was he just got on and dealt with it. Whenever I got on him I knew I was going to get his best, which was brilliant."
Cox, whose next top talent could be last month's Middle Park winner Supremacy, added: "It was a premature close to his racing career and everyone was looking forward to an exciting four-year-old season. I've been fortunate to train some top-class sprinters, most recently Harry Angel, but Golden Horde had all the physical attributes to maintain his progress plus a wonderful temperament.
"Plans for his career at stud are under consideration and I hope he will be very commercial being a son of our multi-Group 1 winner Lethal Force, himself still the course record holder for the July Cup.
"Golden Horde danced every dance no matter what the course or ground and was a model of consistency at the highest level. We will all miss having him around and I hope he will be of interest for his next chapter in life but I greatly look forward to handling his progeny."
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