Striking Display From Dark Angel's Harry Angel In the Sandy Lane

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3rd at HAY, Gr. Stk, £90,000G2 Armstrong Aggregates Sandy Lane S. (6f)Winner: Harry Angel (Ire), c, 3 by Dark Angel (Ire)

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Royal Ascot's G1 Commonwealth Cup is shaping up to be one of the key races of the meeting now that Harry Angel followed Caravaggio Scat Daddy) by placing himself firmly in the picture with this scintillating display. Flashing above-average natural talent when breaking his maiden in the G2 Mill Reef S. at Newbury in September, the bay returned to put in an eye-catching effort when 1 1/2-lengths second to Blue Point (Ire) (Shamardal) giving him four pounds in the G3 Pavilion S. at Ascot May 3. This race proceeded a bout of heavy rain in a storm-affected Britain, but Harry Angel skipped across the surface under Adam Kirby and was always comfortable at the head of affairs. Stretching his rivals approaching the final furlong, he hit the line strong from the progressive Second Thought in a rapid time to break the course record.

Kirby was looking forward to his Royal date afterwards. “He's a very big, strong horse and I think we were all aware that there was nothing in the race quick enough to lead him,” he said. “I just let him do it and it will do him good because he's had a race and he'll improve again from today. I was really pleased with the way he behaved, he's growing up with every run. I think the world of him and we haven't seen the best of him yet. He's a machine, this lad.” Trainer Clive Cox was equally excited and added, “It's just been very exciting having the luxury of training horses like these over the last few years and I couldn't believe my luck to have this fellow as well. He was pretty raw and had a problem with the stalls, so the team had a lot of rebuilding to do as he had that anxiety. They have given him confidence to prove the ability that's always been there and he just progressed. He's a very special horse who is going the right way and maturing.”

In recording his first success in the Mill Reef, Harry Angel was emulating the previous year's winner Ribchester (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) and he possesses the same kind of ability on this performance. His dam Beatrix Potter is a half-sister to Xtension (Ire) (Xaar {GB}), a former Clive Cox trainee who captured the seven-furlong G2 Vintage S. before winning the G1 Champions Mile twice and finishing runner-up in the Hong Kong Derby and Hong Kong Gold Cup for John Moore. Also from the family of the G1 National S. runner-up Wathab (Ire), the GII Seminole H.-winning Minneapple and GII Ohio Derby scorer Private Man and Lord Avie, Steven Got Even and Artemis Agrotera, the dam has a 2-year-old filly by Kodiac (GB) named Cleopatra (Ire).

Saturday, Haydock, Britain
ARMSTRONG AGGREGATES SANDY LANE S.-G2, £90,000, HAY, 5-27, 3yo, 6fT, 1:08.56 (NTR), fm.
1–HARRY ANGEL (IRE), 126, c, 3, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: Beatrix Potter (Ire), by Cadeaux Genereux (GB)
2nd Dam: Great Joy (Ire), by Grand Lodge
3rd Dam: Cheese Soup, by Spectacular Bid
(£44,000 Ylg '15 DNPRM). O-Peter Ridgers; B-CBS Bloodstock (IRE); T-Clive Cox; J-Adam Kirby. £51,039. Lifetime Record: 4-2-2-0, $146,234. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Second Thought (Ire), 126, c, 3, Kodiac (GB)–Bobby Jane (GB), by Diktat (GB). (70,000gns Ylg '15 TAOCT). O-Liam Sheridan; B-Tally Ho Stud (IRE); T-William Haggas. £19,350.
3–Mubtasim (Ire), 126, c, 3, Arcano (Ire)–Start The Music (Ire), by King's Best. (€22,000 Wlg '14 GOFNOV; 38,000gns Ylg '15 TAOCT). O-Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum; B-Mrs Natasha Drennan (IRE); T-William Haggas. £9,684.
Margins: 4HF, 1 3/4, 1 3/4. Odds: 0.80, 3.50, 5.00.
Also Ran: Poet's Vanity (GB), Medicine Jack (GB), Brian The Snail (Ire), Alphabet (GB). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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