Clive Cox is “very happy” with Harry Angel ahead of his defence of the Sprint Cup crown at Haydock Park on Saturday.
The Godolphin-owned four-year-old won the Group One event 12 months ago and is unbeaten in his two starts at the Merseyside venue, where he also holds the track record.
Harry Angel hasn’t been sighted since Royal Ascot in June, where he managed to get his hind leg trapped on a ledge in his stall as the gates opened at the start of the Diamond Jubilee Stakes, duly breaking slowly and coming home behind the field.
We're looking forward to seeing HARRY ANGEL defend his 32Red Sprint Cup 🏆 crown at Haydock this weekend!
One of the best Series performances last season!pic.twitter.com/rx3ihXegtP
— Champions Series (@ChampionsSeries) September 3, 2018
That nasty experience left him bruised and lame, ensuring Harry Angel was forced to miss the defence of his July Cup at Newmarket.
Cox has adopted a patience approach since, with Haydock the key aim. The trainer feels Harry Angel is now ready to do him justice back at a track where he has excelled.
“He was bruised after Ascot, more than we realised at the time. But he is back now, and I couldn’t be happier with him,” Cox told the Godolphin website.
“He has a high level of form at Haydock. He loves the place. He broke the course record there when he won the Group Two Sandy Lane Stakes, and he won last year’s Sprint Cup (on heavy ground) as well.
“Because he was forced to miss the July Cup, he comes to Saturday’s race a fresh horse. He’s back in a good frame of mind, and I’m very happy with him.”
The likes of Brando, two lengths behind Harry Angel in the Group Two Duke of York Stakes in May, and The Tin Man, place in the previous two renewals of the Sprint Cup, are down to take the reigning champion on come Saturday.
Harry Angel is the 5/4 favourite with Paddy Power to retain his crown in Haydock’s Sprint Cup.
Written by Enda McElhinney
Enda McElhinney is an Irish-based racing writer with an increasing portfolio of work on British and Irish racing. His daily routine is race-by-race form analysis, both on the Flat and over jumps. While the racing world must keep on turning, he is quite sure that no horse will ever pull at his heartstrings quite as much as the 2008 Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Denman.