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Cox retains full faith in Nando Parrado

Clive Cox remains optimistic Nando Parrado can develop into 2000 Guineas contender next spring, despite his defeat in Paris on Sunday.

A shock 150-1 winner of the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, the Kodiac colt went on to prove that effort was no fluke when runner-up to American challenger Campanelle in the Prix Morny at Deauville.

Nando Parrado was an odds-on favourite to claim Group One honours as he stepped up to seven furlongs for last weekend’s Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, but was beaten eight lengths into second place by Sealiway, in a race run in very testing ground.

Nando Parrado shot to prominence at Royal Ascot
Nando Parrado shot to prominence at Royal Ascot (Megan Ridgwell/PA)

Cox said: “Nando has come back from France well.

“It was very extreme conditions that we ran in. The winner obviously relished it and it was softer than we’d ever encountered before, but he’s come back fine and we still know we’ve got a proper horse to look forward to next year.

“We’ll put him away now and I very much hope that (2000 Guineas) will be the target.

“It was his first try over seven furlongs the other day and it was a little bit inconclusive with underfoot conditions as bad as they were and I’m sure he’ll stay a bit further next year.”

The Lambourn handler has enjoyed another excellent season with his two-year-olds, with the star of the show being Supremacy following his top-level win in last month’s Middle Park Stakes.

Cox added: “Supremacy has finished for the season, but we couldn’t be more pleased with his efforts and results this year.

“He’s put in some seriously top-class performances and it was great for him to sign off with a Group One.”

Supremacy too good for Middle Park rivals

Supremacy led his rivals a merry dance and held off Lucky Vega to win the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Clive Cox’s youngster had impressed in the Richmond Stakes last time out, but the quality of the race was so deep that Supremacy was sent off a 13-2 chance.

Given a strong wind at the track, Adam Kirby employed the same prominent tactics as he had done when winning the Rockfel Stakes on stablemate Isabella Giles 24 hours earlier and Supremacy was never really headed.

His task was made slightly easier by halfway when Frankie Dettori’s saddle slipped on the keen-going Method and he had to call it a day before the race began in earnest.

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Shane Foley was eager not to give the leader too much rope on favourite Lucky Vega, but Minzaal was dropped right out at the back and ended up making up plenty of ground into third.

Supremacy was not for catching, though, prevailing by half a length, with Minzaal beaten a further two and a quarter lengths.

“It was superb. I’m overjoyed. He has been amazing really. From the Richmond, I think he has continued developing and strengthening all the time,” said Cox.

“He is a complete speedball and likes to get on with it. Adam has ridden him beautifully and got the fractions right. I’m just delighted the way he has finished off.

“I’m really excited about him next year, as he has got more development and strengthening to do over the winter. He is just pure class.

“I don’t think we will be stretching beyond six. I don’t think we need to when he shows gears like that. That is precisely what we will be concentrating on and polishing what we have got.

“(This year’s Commonwealth Cup winner) Golden Horde had a little bit more size and scope at this stage of his career and was second in this race. He is another very good horse, but most importantly they are both talented.

“He has got that speed and that is what he likes to get on and do. We realised at Goodwood it was certainly not the wrong way to ride him. I’m just very happy how it has all panned out.

“I wouldn’t have thought he was overlooked, but some people obviously thought it – people have short memories.

“We’ve had a tremendous season, especially with the two-year-old crop as they have been amazing.

“Any winner is special, but that feeling of standing on that stand, even though there wasn’t a huge crowd around us, it was still extremely satisfying.

“We had a wonderful Royal Ascot as well and it has been a wonderful year for us, in spite of the shenanigans.”

Minzaal and Supremacy poised for Middle Park clash

Minzaal and Supremacy are on course for a mouthwatering clash in the Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday.

Since finishing a promising fourth on his Ascot debut in late July, the Owen Burrows-trained Minzaal has shed his maiden tag at Salisbury and run out a thoroughly impressive winner of the Gimcrack Stakes at York.

Connections are looking forward to testing his powers at Group One level this weekend.

Angus Gold, racing manager to owner Hamdan Al Maktoum, said on Monday morning: “That (Middle Park) is the plan for Minzaal.

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“Owen has been very happy with him since York. I’m sure he has another bit of work to do later in the week, but provided that goes well, hopefully we’ll see him on Saturday.”

Clive Cox has confirmed both Supremacy and Nando Parrado for the six-furlong contest.

Supremacy was last seen dominating his rivals in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood, while Nando Parrado proved his 150-1 victory in the Coventry at Royal Ascot was no fluke by filling the runner-up spot in the Prix Morny at Deauville last month.

Supremacy is set to represent Clive Cox
Supremacy is set to represent Clive Cox (Mark Cranham/PA)

With ground conditions on the Rowley Mile on the quick side of good, Cox is favouring running Supremacy this weekend, with Nando Parrado potentially waiting for the seven-furlong Dewhurst Stakes next month.

Speaking on Nick Luck’s Daily Podcast, Cox said: “Nando Parrado would appreciate a drop of rain. We’re very keen at some stage to step him up to seven furlongs, but we’ll be keep the option open – if the ground did ease significantly, then we’ve got that base covered.

“We’ve left him in, but he probably won’t be declared if it doesn’t rain. He’s going to stay another furlong and probably even a mile next year – he’s a very exciting prospect.

“Supremacy is a proven horse on top of the ground. He was a very impressive winner of the Richmond, he’s in good form and he would be our chosen runner on Saturday, all being well.

Method adds further strength in depth
Method adds further strength in depth (Francesca Altoft/PA)

“We did think about the Gimcrack (at York last month), but he didn’t scope perfectly. It was a minor issue – everything is fine now. He’s a lovely horse with a lot of speed.”

Martyn Meade’s unbeaten colt Method is also among the 10 colts confirmed, as are Michael Bell’s Norfolk Stakes winner The Lir Jet and the Queen’s Windsor Castle and and July Stakes victor Tactical, trained by Andrew Balding.

Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Lipizzaner and St Mark’s Basilica, Jessica Harrington’s Lucky Vega and John Murphy’s Charterhouse are possible challengers from Ireland.