A measure of what Harry Angel’s great triumph at Haydock Park on Saturday meant to Clive Cox and his followers was the time he spent talking to well-wishers, 24 hours later, at the Curragh on Sunday.
It was a lengthy process, as scores of enthusiastic fans wanted to shake the trainer’s hand, offering their congratulations, after the brilliant Godolphin three-year-old had crushed his rivals in the Group 1 32Red Sprint Cup.
“Personally, it means absolutely the world to me to be associated with a horse this good,” Cox said.
“To have him from the start of his career is one thing, but for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed to become his owner, and leave him with us gives me enormous confidence.
“I’m extremely grateful that he’s allowed us to continue the journey,” Cox said.
Godolphin enjoyed an outstanding weekend, with the Group 1 wins of Harry Angel at Haydock, and, next day, Ribchester in the Prix du Moulin at Chantilly, making it very special indeed for Sheikh Mohammed’s global stable.
The amazing feature of the Harry Angel triumph was the way he accelerated in heavy ground.
Cox said: “We found out on Saturday that he really is as effective on soft as he is on fast ground. It was a step into the unknown on that going.
“But he was amazing. Adam (Kirby, his jockey) said he rode plenty of horses at Haydock, but none quickened up, nor looked like doing so in that ground.
“It just confirms Harry Angel’s ranking as a champion sprinter. People can knock the form. But I’m very proud of him, the way he performed and the way he came out of the race.”
Ribchester is also on target to carry the royal blue colours in the Group 1 QEII. The decision to run in the Moulin was vindicated as the colt beat Taareef by three-quarters of a length after always appearing in control.
Trainer Richard Fahey had wanted to rest him but Ribchester gave the trainer other ideas with his behaviour as home. “He was telling me to run him again a.s.a.p…..and he was right,” Fahey said.