Tag Archive for: Clive Cox

Fanshawe praises Southwell surface as Viola takes Winter Oaks Trial win

James Fanshawe hailed the change of surface “a great move” for Southwell after seeing Viola claim the feature event at the track’s first meeting run on Tapeta on Tuesday.

Fibresand had been in place at the Nottinghamshire venue since 1989, but that was removed following racing on August 15 and replaced with the new surface.

Multiple Group One-winning trainer Fanshawe views the switch as a huge positive.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “It’s been a great move. The track is obviously going to take a bit of settling in, but for Southwell to have invested in a new surface is absolutely great.

“It’s a lot closer for us than some of the other Tapeta tracks. I haven’t got that many to run on the all-weather, but I’ll definitely be having some runners here.

“It’s not just the surface – it’s a very well laid out track with the surface as well.”

With a total prize fund of £40,000 up for grabs, a field of seven runners went to post for the Watch Racing Free Online At Coral Winter Oaks Trial Fillies’ Handicap.

Roger Varian’s Timeless Soul was the 3-1 favourite, while Ed Dunlop saddled Virgin Snow – a daughter of his brilliant racemare Snow Fairy.

The Mark Johnston-trained Alba Rose, a half-sister to Gold Cup winner Subjectivist and high-class stablemate Sir Ron Priestley, also faced the starter – but it was the Fanshawe runner that prevailed.

Ridden by Daniel Muscutt, Viola was a 9-2 chance off the back of finishing third in Listed company at Lingfield in October and knuckled down to see off Alba Rose by a length and three-quarters.

The winner could now be targeted at the Coral Winter Oaks at Lingfield in January, although Fanshawe admits a drop back in distance from a mile and a half to a mile and a quarter might not be ideal.

He added: “It’s always difficult to know where you are with fillies at this time of year because they should be hibernating, but she’s really tough this filly.

“She’s been very consistent and obviously enjoyed the surface tonight. It was a good prize.

“She’s got a bit of class, so we’ll just have to see how she is. She’s got a good record round Lingfield, but ideally she wants a mile and a half or a mile and six – she stays.”

Clive Cox struck gold with Fernando Rah
Clive Cox struck gold with Fernando Rah (John Walton/PA)

Clive Cox was delighted to see Fernando Rah get back on the winning trail in the £30,000 #betyourway At Betway Handicap.

A son of the trainer’s top-class sprinter Lethal Force, the three-year-old claimed back-to-back novice victories in July and had been placed twice since in handicap company.

Cox trained just a handful of runners on the Fibresand at Southwell, but hopes to be a more regular visitor after seeing Fernando Rah justify 4-1 favouritism with a three-length success under John Fahy.

He said: “I’m over the moon. He’s always promised to be a good horse.

“We’ve had to tweak a few things as he’s had issues with the stalls. This will do him the world of good from a confidence point of view and he could be an exciting prospect over the winter.

“I’m really excited about having runners at Southwell and I’m delighted to get a winner there tonight, especially with the prize-money that’s offer, which makes a big difference.”

Kieran Shoemark was full of praise for the track after winning the opening race aboard the Charlie Hills-trained Carausius (17-2).

He said: “The surface feels very new, which obviously it is, and I think it’s going to need a bit of time to bed in. We rode it like the old Southwell – we got racing very early and it was a slog home.

“I think it’s got the potential to be one of top all-weather tracks in the country, especially the structure of the racecourse – a nice, big, galloping track.

“I just think we need to give it a little bit of time.”

Cox set to rely on Caturra in Middle Park

Caturra will represent Clive Cox in Saturday’s Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket – but Mill Reef winner Wings Of War is highly unlikely to run just seven days after his Newbury victory.

Caturra was a last-gasp winner of the Flying Childers over five furlongs at Doncaster last time out, catching Richard Hannon’s Molecomb winner Armor in the shadow of the post.

While he will be facing another furlong this weekend, the Mehmas colt does have a Listed win in Newbury’s Rose Bowl Stakes over that trip to his name.

“I’m very happy with Caturra and he’s been in great form since Doncaster,” said Cox.

“He’s won a Listed race over six furlongs already and as he’s in such good form I’m pleased we’ve got another option to look forward to.”

The race will, however, come too soon for Wings Of War.

“We confirmed him on Monday to give ourselves a bit of time,” said Cox.

“He ran an absolute blinder in the Mill Reef and he’s clearly going to benefit from a little bit longer than a week before he turns up at that level again, so it’s unlikely he’ll run.

“There’s not really anything else for him this season, but he’s an exciting horse for next year. We just wanted to give ourselves the choice at the confirmation stage.”

Wings Of War prevails in Mill Reef battle

Wings Of War emulated his sire Dark Angel by flying home late to win the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

Dark Angel is now enjoying an illustrious career at stud having retired at the end of his juvenile campaign, producing the likes of Battaash, Harry Angel and Mecca’s Angel, and Clive Cox will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his latest star.

Cox excels with speedsters, having had the likes of Lethal Force, the aforementioned Harry Angel and Supremacy through his hands in recent seasons, and in Wings Of War he looks to have another legitimate contender for top sprinting honours.

A winner at Nottingham in July, he then went close in a valuable sales race at York behind Ever Given but most recently he was a beaten favourite in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.

He looked to have plenty on his plate with a furlong to run, too, as Hugo Palmer’s Hierarchy, supplemented for the race on Monday, shot clear under Oisin Murphy.

Derby-winning jockey Adam Kirby clicked into overdrive and began to get a good tune out of his mount and then it became a question of whether the line would come too soon.

To the delight of his connections, Wings Of War (17-2) just managed to prevail by a head, with a length and a half back to Fearby in third.

Cox won the Mill Reef back in 2016 with Harry Angel and was bagging a second nice juvenile prize in two weeks after winning the Flying Childers at Doncaster with Caturra.

“We’ve loved him from the start, but they’ve got to go and do that for you,” said Cox.

“He showed a bit of greenness in his last couple of starts but Adam gave him a good ride today.

“He was good and he was ready for this sort of test today. I just hope and pray he turns out as good as the last winner of this race we had in Harry Angel.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do next, I’ll discuss it with (owner) Sheikh Isa and we’ll do what’s best for the horse. I’m not sure if he’d benefit from another run this year or whether we’ll be looking towards next year.”

He went on: “He’s got a bit of scope and maturity to develop into. He’s always given us plenty of confidence at home that he was a proper horse.

“It’s been a wonderful week, winning the Flying Childers last week and the Mill Reef today, it’s very special.

“I’m delighted for connections and we’ve got a proper horse for next year over six furlongs. I think that’s what he is, I don’t think we need to explore over further, why do we need to, we’ve just won a Group Two.

“Mentally there’s scope for him to improve so there’s the potential for more. He was even on edge when he got here today as there’s a bit going on, more than he’s used to, but as the day has gone on he’s got more at ease and put in a performance to be proud of.”

Paddy Power make Wings Of War a 14-1 chance for next year’s Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot.

Caturra’s late charge claims Flying Childers

Caturra came from the clouds to claim top honours in the Wainwright Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster.

Successful in a novice event at Bath and the Listed Rose Bowl at Newbury earlier in the season, Clive Cox’s juvenile was last seen filling the runner-up spot behind the re-opposing Attagirl at York.

The son of Mehmas was a 7-1 shot for this Group Two assignment, with much of the pre-race attention focusing on the Richard Hannon-trained Armor – who was dropping in distance and class after finishing fourth in the Prix Morny.

The market leader looked slightly outpaced at halfway, but picked up well in the final furlong to grab the lead under Ryan Moore.

Unfortunately for favourite backers, however, Caturra came from even further back in the hands of Adam Kirby – displaying a brilliant finishing kick to get up and beat Armor by a neck.

Cox said: “I wish I wasn’t stood at the furlong pole – I wish I had been closer to the line as I was a bit worried when he passed me. I didn’t think he was going to get there, but he’s always shown us a pleasing turn of foot.

“I’ve never had a sprinter with such a sober approach. He had a lay down at the races when he arrived here today.

“He’s got a wonderful mind and lot of speed. We just had to fine tune how we were riding him as he was using up a little bit too much too early.

“That was fantastic and brilliant Adam (Kirby) got there.”

The Lambourn handler raised the possibility of Caturra returning to six furlongs at some stage, adding: “He does get six and ridden this way, he’s switching off so well in his races we can think about that as well.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt he’s done it really well today. Also he’s coped with softer ground last time than I thought possible.

“He showed more of a versatile approach than we imagined, so I’m really pleased.

“His turn of foot was amazing and to do that over five is very special.

“From a management point of view, his laid-back temperament is a big asset.”

Tis Marvellous could head to Newbury after Beverley blitz

Tis Marvellous could bid for Group Three honours at Newbury next month after lowering the course record when winning the Beverley Bullet on the Westwood on Saturday.

Trainer Clive Cox is considering the Dubai International Airport World Trophy at Newbury on September 18, a race in which the seven-year-old finished second in 2020.

Tis Marvellous also holds an entry in the Ayr Gold Cup, but the extended five furlong would suit him better than the six of the big handicap in Scotland.

“I’d say with a penalty as well it (Ayr Gold Cup) wouldn’t be straightforward. More likely would be the five-furlong Group Three at Newbury. That would be a logical step,” said Cox.

“We’ve got a dry autumn which will help him because he prefers dry rather than easier ground.”

The Lambourn handler reflected on the Harbour Watch gelding’s performance in the Listed contest at Beverley.

“I was delighted and in a course-record time which was amazing. It was really special,” he said.

“He’s come out of it really well. I’m very happy and that’s the second course record he holds. The other is at Maisons-Laffitte when he won the Robert Papin. That won’t be beat as they’ve closed the track.

“He’s a real star and has done us proud. At seven years of age it gives me enormous pride to have an appetite for a job like that at such a high level.

Cox is likely to step Aratus up in class after the lightly-raced colt completed a four-timer at Goodwood.

The three-year-old showed he is progressing through the ranks with victory over seasoned campaigner Escobar in a seven-furlong handicap on Saturday.

Aratus stretches clear at Goodwood
Aratus stretches clear at Goodwood (Adam Davy/PA)

“He’s a progressive sort, only a three-year-old, and did it nicely. He’s really maturing and developing a promising profile,” he said.

“It’s very exciting, he’s on an upward curve and I’m delighted for connections. They’ve been patient with him as he’s been developing.

“We’re pleased he’s fulfilling the promise we’d hoped. We’ll digest what he’s done in handicap company and see if the time is right to step him up into Pattern class.”

Marvellous result for Tis in Beverley Bullet

Tis Marvellous showed an impressive turn of foot to claim the Listed William Hill Beverley Bullet Sprint Stakes for Paul Hanagan and Clive Cox.

The seven-year-old started at 7-1 for the five-furlong contest and raced handily behind the leaders until the final furlong pole, where Hanagan eased through a gap in the field and blazed home to prevail by three and three-quarter lengths from Kevin Ryan’s Justanotherbottle.

The victory is the second in a row for Tis Marvellous, who took the Shergar Cup Dash at Ascot on his last outing in a campaign that has seen him gain a win or a place in each of his four runs.

“It was all the horse,” Hanagan said of the triumph on the Westwood.

“He was an absolute pleasure to ride, he did it quite easily but he was very straightforward.

“He seemed to relish the hill, he hit that rising ground and really stretched away.

“It was just an easy steering job, it was all down to the horse.

“It’s a race I’ve never won as well – I’ve had to wait until I’m 40 years old to win it, so I’m chuffed to bits.

“It’s always a good sign when you can’t pull one up after the line, he had plenty there.”

Owners Julie Deadman and Stephen Barrow were thrilled with their bay, who was the 2-1 favourite for the race in 2019 but was denied a clear passage in the closing stages and eventually finished fifth.

The Ayr Gold Cup is now under consideration, as is the Group Three Dubai International Airport World Trophy at Newbury on September 18.

“We were delighted with that,” Barrow said.

“He’s a wonderful horse and had his ground.

“He was desperately unlucky in this two years ago but it was a perfect run through today.

“He’s in the Ayr Gold Cup but he’ll probably have to carry a penalty.

“There’s also the Newbury Group Three to think about, but the trainer will tell us the best plan now.”

Tis Marvellous again in Shergar Cup Dash

Tis Marvellous got the Rest of the World team and Danish jockey Kevin Stott off to a flying start with a narrow victory in the opening race of the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup at Ascot.

The Clive Cox-trained gelding was a 9-2 joint-favourite to record a second win in the five-furlong Shergar Cup Dash, having struck gold for Hollie Doyle and the Ladies Team in 2018.

After tracking the pace-setting King Of Stars for much of the race on the far side of the track, Tis Marvellous moved powerfully to the lead inside the final two furlongs and briefly looked set to score decisively.

However, both 6-1 shot Desert Safari and the other joint-favourite Magical Spirit flashed home in the group that raced nearer the stands side, and there was little to choose between the trio passing the post.

After a brief wait, the judge confirmed Tis Marvellous had held on by a short head from Desert Safari, with Magical Spirit the same distance further away in third.

Stott said: “I thought I would try to get a nice lead and see if he (King Of Stars) could take me there, and he took me the furthest.

“I sat on him as long as possible. He’s a gentleman of a horse who made my job easy on that nice, soft ground.”

Cox was delighted to saddle a winner, saying: “We’ve been lucky at this meeting, many times. It’s a fun day, and as long as the owners are behind and enjoy it, that’s what it is all about. It’s good prize-money – what’s not to like?”

Just Hubert and Nicola Currie after winning at Ascot
Just Hubert and Nicola Currie after winning at Ascot (Steven Paston/PA)

Just Hubert led home a one-two for the Ladies Team in the Shergar Cup Stayers.

Ridden by Nicola Currie, 11-1 shot Just Hubert raced on the pace throughout the two-mile contest.

The five-year-old was strongly pressed in the final furlong by the hat-trick seeking Call My Bluff – on whom Currie’s French team-mate Mickaelle Michel was closing all the time, but William Muir and Chris Grassick’s charge clung on by a short head.

“I decided to try to make it into a test of stamina from the turn for home, and throughout the race the more I tried to take a pull the quicker he went,” said Currie.

“There’s a great buzz in the weighing room, and everyone is right behind it.”

Currie came close to completing a double in the following Shergar Cup Challenge, but was narrowly denied by Ireland’s David Egan and 18-1 shot Graphite.

Terry Kent’s grey went by the Currie-ridden HMS President – but the latter fought back admirably, and there was just a head between the pair at the line.

Egan said: “I’m pleased for the fact we needed the points, but just as much for Terry Kent. He was assistant to Roger Varian, who I’ve ridden for for a long time.

“As a boy, I grew up watching the big overseas jockeys ride in the Shergar Cup. My horse was very brave, and it means a lot to me.

“Looking up at the crowds there, it’s fantastic to see. Ascot, although it’s about great horses, it’s also about the great crowds, and at least we’ve got them back.”

Dashing Roger in the Ascot winner's enclosure
Dashing Roger in the Ascot winner’s enclosure (Steven Paston/PA)

Shergar Cup debutant Cieren Fallon claimed a first winner on the afternoon for Britain in the Mile, with Dashing Roger coming out on top.

Fallon, whose father Kieren won the Alistair Haggis Silver Saddle as the event’s leading rider in 2003 and was on the winning team in 2001 and 2002, drove William Stone’s 5-1 chance to a one-and-three-quarter-length success over Young Fire.

“I was on the best horse in the race,” he said.

“He broke well and gained a comfortable position – and when I gave him a squeeze he really picked up, putting the race to bed in a matter of strides.

“He was off a low mark at the start of the year, and hasn’t stopped improving.

“It’s good that David and I have each ridden a winner, because we go back a long way.”

State Of Bliss and Nicola Currie at the Shergar Cup
State Of Bliss and Nicola Currie at the Shergar Cup (Steven Paston/PA)

Currie notched her second winner aboard State Of Bliss in the Shergar Cup Classic, a victory which confirmed she would take the Alistair Haggis “Silver Saddle” Trophy as the day’s leading rider.

Star Caliber led his rivals a merry dance for much of the race, but was beginning to tire inside the final two furlongs and ultimately faded.

Mark Johnston’s 9-2 shot State Of Bliss stayed on best under the Currie drive to prevail by three and three-quarter lengths, with his stablemate Annandale beating 100-30 favourite Star Caliber to the runner-up spot.

Currie said: “It’s been a fantastic day, and this horse is a typical Johnston straightforward ride

“They went a really hard gallop, and my job was to fill him up because I knew he would keep finding. I wanted to get him rolling, and he got better and better as the race developed.”

The Irish team dominated in the concluding Shergar Cup Sprint, with team captain Joe Fanning and Mitrosonfire (17-2) pipping Crazy Luck and team-mate Tadhg O’Shea to top honours.

The victory completed a double on the day for the Muir-Grassick training combination, while Currie’s third place aboard Royal Scimitar confirmed the Ladies team as the overall winners of the Shergar Cup.

Fanning said: “I had to come from further back than I wanted, but he kept going for me.”

Caturra digs deep for Rose Bowl victory

Caturra clung on for a narrow victory in the Ire Incentive, It Pays To Buy Irish Rose Bowl Stakes at Newbury.

Clive Cox’s Bath novice winner performed with plenty of credit when beaten just over three lengths into seventh in last month’s Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, and was a 7-2 chance for this Listed assignment under Adam Kirby.

After battling his way to the front, Caturra first looked likely to be picked up by 9-4 favourite Orazio and Frankie Dettori, but saw him off despite hanging slightly left.

In the final strides, Detail was then flashing home in the hands of Sean Levey, but the line came in time for Cox’s charge to prevail by a neck.

The Lambourn trainer said: “He’s a lovely horse – and it was a great run at Ascot, I thought, of all the horses who raced up with the pace.

“It wasn’t a strong pace today, and when he hit the front I felt he only just did enough because he’s very laid back – but I’m very happy.”

Caturra is set to go back up in class again next – possibly at Goodwood or York.

“I was very much keen on the Richmond (Stakes at Goodwood) after Ascot, but I didn’t think we could pass up this opportunity,” added Cox.

“If it had remained soft we wouldn’t have been here.

“Where we go from here will be dependent on how the horse comes out of it – we’re only two weeks away from Goodwood. We’ll be dictated by his well-being – if we do run it will be because he’s showing us he’s very well.

“The Gimcrack could be on the cards as well – his temperament is so pleasing, and we’re still learning about him. He would be just as adept over five furlongs, and today the winning distance was diminishing.”

Cox in no hurry to decide Diligent Harry aim

Clive Cox is predicting a bright future for Diligent Harry after his third place in the Chipchase Stakes at Newcastle.

Taking on older horses for the first time, the three-year-old was beaten by Chil Chil and Good Effort but Cox was excited by what he witnessed.

The trainer had hoped to run Diligent Harry in the Commonwealth Cup at Ascot, but the ground turned soft and he was taken out on the morning of the race.

“I thought he ran a super race and he’s come back well,” said Cox.

“He’s clearly progressing at a very good level still.

“He was coming back at them again at the line and he’s an exciting prospect at this stage of his career.”

Diligent Harry holds Group One entries in the July Cup and the Flying Five at the Curragh but Cox will not rush into a decision over where he heads next.

He said: “We’ve covered all entries but we’ll work out the best route forwards as we progress. We’ll just sit on the fence a little bit and see how we feel through the next week, but he’s a very exciting prospect and I’m so pleased to have him on our hands.”

Cox will, though, be represented in the July Cup by Supremacy, another who missed the Commonwealth Cup due to the testing conditions.

“We’re very much intending to go the July Cup route, all going well,” said Cox.

“As we are at the moment, that is very much the plan. Ascot was frustrating but it can happen.”

Supremacy ready to prove point in Commonwealth Cup

Clive Cox expects Supremacy to show his true colours in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, following a below-par run on his seasonal debut.

Last season’s Middle Park Stakes hero disappointed in the Pavilion Stakes, the official trial for the six-furlong Group One, but has been pleasing Cox in his preparation for the big day.

The Lambourn trainer said: “Supremacy had a disappointing comeback run, but clearly he wasn’t right for that – which wasn’t obvious before.

“We’re certainly very happy with the way he has trained in the meantime, and I’m hoping he can put that run behind him.”

Cox may have a second Commonwealth Cup contender too with Diligent Harry, who has won three of his four starts on the all-weather.

Diligent Harry (green and red colours) could join stablemate Supremacy in the Commonwealth Cup
Diligent Harry (green and red colours) could join stablemate Supremacy in the Commonwealth Cup (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Another one possibly is Diligent Harry,” he said.

“He’s yet to run on the turf and missed his intended starts in the Carnarvon (at Newbury) and Sandy Lane (at Haydock) because of very soft ground.

“He’s a very exciting, unexposed turf campaigner who did remarkably well on the all-weather.”

Cox’s team at the Royal meeting includes Nando Parrado, who caused a 150-1 upset at Ascot in the Coventry Stakes last summer.

“Nando Parrado is very much an intended runner in the Jersey, over seven,” he said.

“He didn’t stretch out over the mile. But we’ve campaigned him on soft ground on numerous occasions, and I’m looking forward to running him back at Ascot – which definitely brought out his best performance in Group Two two-year-old winning form.”

Get Ahead is one of several exciting juveniles Cox is looking forward to running.

He has the Queen Mary Stakes in mind for the Showcasing filly, who won her only start so far at the Berkshire track last month.

“We’re hopefully going to be well represented in most of the two-year-old races, as long as they are healthy and well,” said Cox.

“We have a very nice filly in the Queen Mary in Get Ahead. We have Caturra in the Coventry; Instinctive Move will look towards the Norfolk, and Crazyland will run in either the Albany or the Queen Mary.”

Tis Marvellous is on target to appear at the meeting for the fifth year running.

The sprinter heads for the Wokingham Stakes, in which he was second in 2019 and fourth in 2018. The Harbour Watch gelding was fourth in last year’s King’s Stand Stakes, and sixth in the Commonwealth Cup in 2017.

“We’ll have Tis Marvellous, who loves Royal Ascot, in the Wokingham,” said Cox, who also intends running Streamline.

“He was a Group Three-winner at two and missed last year because of injury. He’s another potentially exciting prospect back in handicap company.

“Dance Fever is in the Buckingham Palace, and we might have a few more in the handicaps. It depends how the weights look.”

Cox ‘elated’ after Kirby secures deserved Derby triumph

Clive Cox is full of pride after his stable jockey Adam Kirby pulled off a brilliant triumph on Adayar in the Cazoo Derby at Epsom.

Kirby joined Lambourn trainer Cox as a 15-year-old in 2005, and the pair have since enjoyed tremendous success – including at the top table with Lethal Force, Profitable, Harry’s Angel and Golden Horde.

Cox was thrilled to see Kirby etch his name on the roll of honour in Britain’s biggest Flat race on Saturday – on the Godolphin-owned colt for trainer Charlie Appleby.

“I’m absolutely over the moon for him. It was spectacular,” he said.

Trainer Clive Cox hailed Adam Kirby's 'very well-deserved' Derby success
Trainer Clive Cox hailed Adam Kirby’s ‘very well-deserved’ Derby success (John Walton/PA)

“We’ve had some amazing days, but it is very special to see him win a Derby – the pinnacle of the racing scene. It’s such a wonderful achievement.

“We go back a long way, and I’m absolutely elated by watching him yesterday.

“It’s well-deserved, and on top of everything else he’s a really nice fella. I was very proud of what he did.”

Kirby himself was on Sunday trying to come to terms with his amazing success on Adayar.

Still replying to countless messages and missed calls, the 32-year-old plans a couple of days off to fully take in what has been a rollercoaster week.

From looking forward to the ride on John Leeper, then losing out to Frankie Dettori only to be given a second chance to be aboard Adayar for Charlie Appleby at the expense of champion jockey Oisin Murphy and then to win the premier Classic, is quite a story.

“It’s unbelievable. A great day,” Kirby told Sky Sports Racing.

“It’s something I’ll never forget. I’m a bit stuck for words – it’s only just kicking in, but it’s fantastic.

“The Derby is the ultimate test. It’s still sinking in. It was a great feeling. It’s something no one can take away from me. I’m really pleased.”

Adam Kirby (right) receiving his trophy after his Derby victory on Adayar
Adam Kirby (right) receiving his trophy after his Derby victory on Adayar (John Walton/PA)

Kirby savoured the moment, because he does not expect to ride Adayar again – with William Buick, who rode Hurricane Lane into third place, and James Doyle, sixth on One Ruler, as Appleby’s two main jockeys.

“We all know William Buick is stable jockey, and James Doyle is the second, so good look to the boys,” he said.

“I doubt I will ever come across him again, because the boys will have him back. That’s their job.

“I’d like to say what two great lads they are. They were the first to greet me and congratulate me – two top jockeys and two top blokes as well.

“I’m still trying to reply to messages and get back to missed calls. I will get back to everybody – it’s been a manic few hours.”

River Nymph swoops late for Victoria Cup glory

River Nymph came with a wet sail to lift the tote+ Victoria Cup at Ascot for Clive Cox and Adam Kirby.

The duo are no strangers to success at the Berkshire track, and landed the £75,000 pot with the unexposed four-year-old by half a length from 80-1 outsider Eagleway.

River Nymph had looked to have a big future last season when winning consecutive races at Ascot and Newbury, both over seven furlongs.

However, stepped up to a mile for the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day and the Lincoln at Doncaster on his seasonal return, River Nymph finished nearer last than first on both occasions.

Back over the specialist trip of seven furlongs, Kirby was able to save his mount for a late flourish deep inside the final furlong.

It was a typical big-field Ascot handicap with a furlong to run, with as many as 10 in a line across the track.

Eagleway could be spotted with his bright blinkers, with the favourite Acquitted, top weight Motakhayyel and Zip all to the fore.

River Nymph appeared to have plenty to do at that stage, but under a strong Kirby drive, the 11-1 chance hit top gear and won going away. Escobar was third with Zip fourth.

The winner is now likely to be stepped up in class.

Cox said: “It looks like he’s a seven-furlong specialist and he loves it here at Ascot.

“It was a very competitive renewal and I’m over the moon as he was 11lb higher than when he won here last season, so I’m very happy.

“I think he’ll be handicapped out of races like the Balmoral now, but to get that win means a lot.

“Quite possibly it will be a Listed race next. He doesn’t like the ground too firm, but he’s the sort of horse who has a change of gear, so is the type to handle a step up in class.

“He could be one to take to France, those races could suit. We’ll just play the cards accordingly.”

Albaflora powers clear to win impressively
Albaflora powers clear to win impressively (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Albaflora ran out a hugely-impressive winner of the tote+ Pays More At tote.co.uk Buckhounds Stakes.

Ralph Beckett’s filly hinted there could be more to come from her this season when pushing St Leger runner-up Berkshire Rocco close at the end of last term.

Settled in mid-division by Rossa Ryan, the 4-1 favourite could be spotted travelling ominously well as the field, headed by Without A Fight, turned into the straight.

Ryan just needed to manoeuvre his mount into the clear to enable a smooth passage, but once she saw daylight she quickened away impressively.

Running in the famous Kirsten Rausing colours, she fairly powered away from a decent field with Tribal Craft, the 50-1 outsider, emerging from out of the pack to finish second – albeit seven lengths adrift.

Beckett said: “I thought she’d win, but I wasn’t expecting that.

“We had a frustrating year last year and I left Ascot frustrated after the Noel Murless as I thought she should have won that day.

“She’s in the Hardwicke, which indicates what we felt about her. She could go to the Pinnacle (at Haydock) at the end of this month, but I’ll work it out.

“She’s done very well over the winter and Alyssa (half-sister) did better with age. Given how she’d done over the winter, it was no surprise she won. How good she’ll be, we’ll find out.”

Ryan then doubled up on David Loughnane’s newcomer Go Bears Go (6-1), who made just about every yard of the running against the rail in the tote+ Placepots Pay More Novice Stakes.

The two main market protagonists fought out the finish to the tote+ Exclusively At tote.co.uk British EBF Fillies’ Handicap, with top weight Lights On (3-1) just edging out Dreamloper.

Supremacy provides ‘less than perfect’ blood test result

An unsatisfactory blood test has provided an explanation for Supremacy’s lacklustre performance in the Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.

The three-year-old was sent off 10-11 favourite for last week’s six-furlong contest, a recognised trial for the Group One Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot next month.

Supremacy already has winning top-level form – having completed a hat-trick of victories last season in Newmarket’s Middle Park Stakes – but his return this year was a disappointing one as he finished last of eight.

The outcome of a blood test has since shed some light on the uncharacteristically poor run.

Trainer Clive Cox said: “We have had a less than perfect blood result from him.

“We’re leaving no stone unturned in the hope of rectifying the situation, which was far below expectations.

“We’ve had many tests – and without having a complete conclusion yet, we’re hoping we can get him back on the right track.”

Supremacy was in fine shape in preparation for the race, allowing a helpful comparison between test results before and after his poor performance.

Cox added: “He’s a horse of such a high standard – undoubtedly we wouldn’t have been there if we hadn’t been happy with him.

“Although he’s got such a laid-back temperament and way about him, it’s a just a relief.

“It’s flagged up less than perfect, which wasn’t the case before.

“We’ve got a bit of time to decide what’s next, and hopefully that will become clear over the couple of weeks.”

Supremacy aiming to advertise Commonwealth Cup claims at Ascot

Supremacy will try to boost his already strong claims for the Commonwealth Cup when he makes his seasonal reappearance in the Qipco British Champions Series horseracinghof.com Pavilion Stakes at Ascot.

The Clive Cox-trained colt had a tremendous juvenile campaign, winning the Group Two Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the Group One Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. He has to carry a 4lb penalty on Wednesday, for the latter success.

Supremacy was beaten on his racecourse debut last season, and Cox is pleased to be able to run him before next month’s Group One at the Royal meeting, for which he is ante-post favourite at around 9-2.

“I’m delighted that it’s this year and not last, with the chance to have a prep and not go to Ascot first time out,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“He’s done really well, but this is very much his first step back, and he comes to himself when it gets a bit warmer – so while I’m pleased we’re back in action, it is very much his first step of the year.

“He’s a wonderful horse and he’s got such an amazing temperament for a sprinter, which is why I’m really pleased we’ve got a chance to have a trial race in the build-up to Royal Ascot. That is where we’re looking for him to come to the boil 100 per cent.

“I really don’t know if we’ll run him again before Ascot. I’m very happy we’ve got a chance to run on some quick ground. A lot of these horses have been running through the winter and have had recent runs.

“This is his first step back with a penalty. I’m looking forward to getting him back on track.”

Method makes his seasonal bow for Martyn Meade
Method misses out for Martyn Meade (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Apollo One, Mighty Gurkha and Saint Lawrence are among those taking on Supremacy – but Method will disappointingly miss the race.

Trainer Martyn Meade had been looking forward to the seasonal reappearance of his dual winner, but has ruled him out following unsatisfactory blood test results. He is now set to go for the Sandy Lane Stakes at

“I’m really disappointed because we aimed for this race as the start of his campaign,” Meade told Sky Sports Racing.

“I think he’s such a good horse, we can’t risk him I’m afraid. It’s nothing serious – I’ve erred on the side of caution.

“I think we’re going to go for the Sandy Lane at Haydock, which is not until May 22. The Commonwealth Cup is what we’re focusing on, and I think the Sandy Lane would be an ideal prep race for him going into Ascot on June 18.”

Haqeeqy impressed with his Lincoln victory
Haqeeqy impressed with his Lincoln victory (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Haqeeqy steps up to Listed company for the Charlie Waller Trust Paradise Stakes, after winning the Lincoln Handicap in eyecatching fashion on only his sixth career start.

The four-year-old, by Lope De Vega, produced a decisive turn of foot to win going away by a length and a half at Doncaster last month.

Trainer John Gosden feels this is the right opportunity for Haqeeqy on the back of that victory.

“He did it well. He finished off that race very strongly, and that’s an obvious step to go to a Listed from a race like that,” he said.

Sir Busker (white cap) claimed last year's Silver Royal Hunt Cup
Sir Busker (white cap) claimed last year’s Silver Royal Hunt Cup (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

Sir Busker won the Silver Hunt Cup over the course and distance at the Royal meeting, and also covered himself in glory in two attempts in Group company.

Runner-up in the Celebration Mile, the William Knight-trained gelding was fourth to The Revenant in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes in October.

Sam Hoskins, racing manager for owners Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds, said: “We’re really looking forward to seeing him run back. William is really pleased. He’s grown and has strengthened up even more during the winter.

“I’m sure he’ll come on for the run a little bit, but I’m hoping he’ll be bang there.

“It was a great performance in the QEII, and if he hadn’t have hung all the way across the track he may well have beaten Palace Pier for third.

“That was obviously very different ground to what it will be on Wednesday, but hopefully he’ll run a big race again.

“Ascot suits him perfectly. He likes to be ridden patiently. We won’t see him until late, hopefully.”

Marie’s Diamond, trained by Mark Johnston, won this race last year when it was staged at Newmarket in June because of the pandemic.

Richard Hannon is double-handed with Oh This Is Us and Qaysar, while Paul and Oliver Cole run their two-time Group-race scorer Duke Of Hazzard.

Parrado in good shape for informative-looking Greenham

Nando Parrado is one of several colts on trial for next month’s Qipco 2000 Guineas in what looks a high-class renewal of the Watership Down Stud Too Darn Hot Greenham Stakes at Newbury.

Clive Cox’s charge produced one of the biggest shocks in Royal Ascot history when landing last season’s Coventry Stakes at 150-1.

The son of Kodiac went on to prove that performance was no fluke, however – filling the runner-up spot behind star American filly Campanelle in the Prix Morny before again finding only one too strong when stepped up to seven furlongs for the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.

Cox reports Nando Parrado in rude health ahead of his reappearance, saying: “He’s pleased me very much and has been working nicely.

“He was a solid Group Two winner in the Coventry and ran some great races in defeat after that at Group One level.

“It was very, very testing ground in Paris for the Lagardere, so it was a bit (inconclusive regarding trip).

“We’ve got confidence in him over seven (furlongs) and I still think a mile is well within his compass.”

The likely favourite is the the Richard Hannon-trained Chindit, who looked every inch a top-class colt in the making when winning his first three juvenile starts – completing his hat-trick in the Group Two Champagne Stakes.

He returns with perhaps a little to prove after failing to fire on his most recent outing in the Dewhurst at Newmarket.

Chindit (left) winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster
Chindit (left) winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“On that day (of the Dewhurst), the times said it was riding like it was heavy ground and both Chindit and Etonian were wheel-spinning the whole way,” Hannon said.

“Chindit travelled into it very well, like he normally does, and didn’t pick up at all. I’m more than happy to forgive that run.”

While Hannon is confident Chindit will enjoy a profitable campaign, he admits he does have reservations about whether he will stay the Guineas trip of a mile.

He told Sky Sports Racing: “He’s got a lot more speed that people think. To me, last year it looked like he wanted all of that seven furlongs when he won the Champagne Stakes and was crying out for a mile.

“I hope that’s the case, but the nice thing with a three-year-old now is if you don’t get the Guineas trip, you can come back to Royal Ascot for six furlongs (in the Commonwealth Cup).”

Alkumait is one of two runners for the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum
Alkumait is one of two runners for the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum (Dan Abraham/PA)

Having struck gold with the brilliant Mohaather in the 2019 renewal, Marcus Tregoning bids for another victory with Alkumait.

Winner of the Mill Reef Stakes at this venue in September, the son of Showcasing is another bidding to bounce back from a disappointing effort in the Dewhurst.

Alkumait is one of two horses carrying the colours of the late Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum along with the Charlie Hills-trained Mujbar, who won the Horris Hill over the course and distance when last seen.

Interestingly, the owner’s retained rider Jim Crowley has sided with the latter, with Dane O’Neill partnering Alkumait.

“Jim very much had the choice,” said Shadwell racing manager Angus Gold.

“Sunday will tell us a lot more, but the Hills camp have always hoped Mujbar was going to make into a Guineas horse.

“He obviously won a Group race as a two-year-old, as did Alkumait, but everything about Alkumait that I have seen suggests he’s more of a sprinter – and I know Jim feels the same.

“Marcus wants to see whether he would stay seven furlongs. We’ll be trying to get him to settle and finish it off, so we learn whether he does stay. He didn’t stay in the Dewhurst last year, but that might not have been just down to stamina.

“I think Jim is looking to the future and we’re thinking that if Mujbar has come on, he could be a Guineas horse, whereas I would be pleasantly surprised if Alkumait made a Guineas horse.

“We could all be wrong and I’d be delighted to be proven wrong, but at this stage I see Alkumait as more of a Commonwealth Cup type.”

Fundamental in winning action at Chelmsford
Fundamental in winning action at Chelmsford (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Frankie Dettori partners dual Chelmsford scorer Fundamental for John and Thady Gosden.

John Gosden said: “He won well the other day at Chelmsford and seven furlongs might be his trip.

“I think it looks a really good trial. In fact I think they have all been good trials this week – the Craven and Nell Gwyn, which looked very nice, and this looks a strong Greenham.

“That is what we want, nice horses around.”