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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.

Dhabab primed for latest big-race opportunity

Dhabab gets a third opportunity to bid for Group-race honours in the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

An impressive winner on his racecourse debut at Leicester in early June, John and Thady Gosden’s juvenile has since been sent off favourite for both the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Superlative Stakes at Newmarket.

And while the son of No Nay Never came up short on both occasions, the form of his third-placed finish on the July Course could hardly have worked out better, particularly with the winner Native Trail following up in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh last weekend.

Thady Gosden said: “The form of the Superlative has worked out very well, especially with Native Trail winning in Ireland the other day.

“He’s had a nice break since then and done well.

“He’s dropping back in trip, but he shows plenty of speed and showed a good turn of foot in the Superlative. I hope the drop back in trip shouldn’t be a problem.”

Richard Hannon has high hopes for Super Sprint winner Gubbass, who was last seen finishing fifth in the Prix Morny at Deauville.

Gubbass winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury
Gubbass winning the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

He said: “He’s going on Saturday and we’re looking forward to it.

“Hopefully he goes there with a great chance. We’re very happy with him.”

The Kevin Ryan-trained Gis A Sub and Ed Bethell’s Fearby renew rivalry after finishing second and fourth respectively in the Gimcrack Stakes at York last month.

Bethell is hopeful his charge can turn that form around.

Fearby impressed in Sandown's Dragon Stakes
Fearby impressed in Sandown’s Dragon Stakes (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

“Fearby has run some great races this season, and it’s all systems go for this weekend,” said the Middleham-based trainer.

“He’s in good form at home and I’m really looking forward to running him.

“His Sandown win was his standout run of the season in terms of speed figures. I think he would have been a lot closer in the Gimcrack at York, but seemed to have a few gaps close in front of him.

“A flat six furlongs at Newbury should play into his hands and show him at his best.”

William Haggas is represented by Maglev, who was runner-up to subsequent Doncaster sale race winner Harrow in a York nursery on his latest appearance.

Haggas said: “He’s doing well and obviously the form of his York run was given a nice boost by the winner at Doncaster.

“He’s certainly entitled to have a shot at a race like this, I would think.”