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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.”

Diligent Harry hunting All-Weather Championships crown

Diligent Harry bids to make amends for a narrow defeat over the course and distance when he returns to Lingfield for the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes on Friday.

A slow start put the Clive Cox-trained colt on the back foot and the race did not go to plan after that. Despite finishing strongly, Diligent Harry could not quite peg back Rohaan and was beaten a short head.

He had been up with the pace when winning his only two previous starts at Wolverhampton and Kempton. The latter race was over the minimum trip, but Cox believes six furlongs is his optimum at present.

“He’s got a lot of potential and he’s still very much learning his job, but because of that he’s entitled to find more progress, I think,” said the Lambourn trainer.

“He’s very quick, we did drop him back to five furlongs for his second outing, but that was more because the opportunity arose than being a necessity.

“I think six furlongs is where we want to be with him at the moment.”

Victory Heights staked his claim with victory at Wolverhampton when four of these rivals – Mighty Gurkha, Yazaman, Zamaani and Bakersboy – finished directly behind him in second to fifth places respectively.

Trainer James Tate is hoping the son of Siyouni can overcome a wide draw.

Victory Heights has a wide draw to overcome
Victory Heights has a wide draw to overcome (Tony Knapton/PA)

“We love Victory Heights, he’s as game as a pebble. I thought he was really tough and put in a good performance when he beat some of these horses at Wolverhampton back in December,” said the Newmarket handler.

“This has been the plan ever since. It looks like a very competitive, tight little contest and we haven’t go the best of draws (in stall 10). I’m sure him and Luke Morris will be giving it their best shot anyway.”

William Haggas reports Yazaman to be in fine form.

“Yazaman is in good shape and will have the blinkers back on for this,” said the Newmarket handler.

“He was drawn widest of all last time and we took the view that we would drop him out. He ran OK, but never really got into the race.”

Ranch Hand would prefer a decent gallop in the Marathon
Ranch Hand would prefer a decent gallop in the Marathon (Richard Sellers/PA)

Andrew Balding is praying there is a strong gallop for Ranch Hand in the Betway All-Weather Marathon Championships Conditions Stakes.

“He wouldn’t want it to be a tactical race with an injection of speed off the final bend,” Balding told Sky Sports Racing.

“James Doyle is riding him and he’ll be given a free rein to ride him as he sees fit. I’m sure he’ll get it right.”

Just seven runners will line-up for this two-mile test with Alan King’s Rainbow Dreamer and Amityaz from the in-form team of John and Thady Gosden among the leading fancies.

Tim Easterby feels Lampang will be adaptable whatever the pace in the Betway All-Weather Sprint Championships Conditions Stakes.

“He’s a very straight forward horse. He can go up there or drop in. It doesn’t matter. It depends how the race goes,” said the North Yorkshire handler.

“You’ve got to have a jockey who rides the track well. That’s the main thing at Lingfield. Silvestre (de Sousa) rides it well, so things should be good.

“It’s a pretty competitive race. You can give a lot of horses a chance.”

Ado McGuinness’s Irish raider Harry’s Bar will have plenty of supporters, while others with chances in the 12-strong field include Summerghand, Highland Dress, Venturous and Lord Riddiford.

Richard Hannon has no qualms about putting Mums Tipple back up in trip for the the Bombardier All-Weather Mile Championships Conditions Stakes.

The gelding flopped when tried over a mile in the 2000 Guineas last season, but he did not show his best form at all in 2020. However, he bounced back with victory over seven furlongs at Wolverhampton recently.

“Mums Tipple is in great form. I was very pleased with his last run – it was a smart performance – and he looks like he is going the right way,” said Hannon.

“Finals Day will be the first time he has run over a mile since the Guineas. I am hoping it won’t be an issue as he got the seven furlongs really well at Wolverhampton.”

Of the opposition, Silver Quartz represents French trainer Francis Graffard after scoring at Chantilly four weeks ago, with compatriot Canagat joining him on the trip.

Among others in the mix are Roger Varian’s Khuzaam and Documenting from Kevin Frost’s stable.

Tate feels Shimmering Dawn’s track record will stand her in good stead for the Ladbrokes All-Weather Fillies’ And Mares’ Championships Conditions Stakes.

The mare won over this seven furlongs in December to give the Newmarket trainer hope of a bold show.

“Shimmering Dawn has been a great servant to us over the winter, she loves the all-weather and she’s a course-and-distance winner,” he said.

“It looks like we’ve got (John and Thady) Gosden’s to beat (Indie Angel) and David Loughnane’s (Fizzy Feet) as well, although maybe that one wants a little bit less of a trip.

“She’s pretty tactically able to do whatever, it’s a small field and we’ve got a good jockey on board.

“We’ll give it a good go, there’s plenty of money on offer.”

Fizzy Feet  (right) represents Dave Lowe
Fizzy Feet (right) represents Dave Lowe (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Fizzy Feet’s owner Dave Lowe thinks his runner has every chance of seeing out the longer trip.

He said: “David (Loughnane) is pretty confident that Fizzy Feet will stay seven furlongs.

“He doesn’t feel she has been stopping in her races and, if you are going to get seven furlongs anywhere, it will be Lingfield.

“Indie Angel is the horse to beat, but I am confident of a big run from Fizzy Feet as I think she could get an easy lead.

“If she can steal a march on the field, hopefully they will find it difficult to peg her back.”

Diligent Harry ‘still on upward curve’

Clive Cox believes there is plenty more to come from Diligent Harry as he prepares for the Ladbrokes 3 Year Old All-Weather Championships Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.

Winner of his first two starts, Diligent Harry was a fast-finishing second last time out – and although he surrendered his unbeaten record, he lost little in defeat.

He is set to be in action against his contemporaries on Friday, and Cox said: “He’s progressive.

“After two easy maiden and novice starts, that was a step forward last time out even though he was second.

“I do think he’s still on an upward curve, and I certainly hope he is.”

Diligent Harry has displayed plenty of pace so far, and his Lambourn trainer added: “He’s got a lot of potential and scope there, and he’s still very much learning his job – but because of that, he’s entitled to find more progress, I think.

“He’s very quick – we did drop him back to five furlongs for his second outing, but that was more because the opportunity arose more than being a necessity.

“I think six furlongs is where we want to be with him at the moment.

“He’s taking on another notch of top-class horses, so we need to see more progress, but we’re hopeful he is progressing in the right direction to take the next step.”