Dante Festival: Duke of York Stakes sprint star Harry Angel ‘will only get better’

Harry Angel and Adam Kirby win the Duke of York Stakes.
Harry Angel and Adam Kirby win the Duke of York Stakes.
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STAR sprinter Harry Angel appears as good as ever after showing his class to land the Duke of York Stakes.

Royal Ascot’s Diamond Jubilees Stakes – and Newmarket’s July Cup – are now on the horizon for last year’s dual Group One winner.

It’s great it’s all come together. A lot of people have shown a lot of patience. He was a little bit fresh but because of the weather he hasn’t been off the bridle at home.

Clive Cox

Even though Adam Kirby’s mount veered to the left in the closing stages, the divine Harry Angel had enough in hand over Brando who ran with credit for Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan.

“I was really pleased with him,” said Kirby, who believes the Godolphin-owned four-year-old will improve still further for the run. “I think he’s definitely improving, his mind has definitely improved. He’s nice and relaxed and doing everything a lot better now.”

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Winning trainer Clive Cox concurred, saying: “It’s great it’s all come together. A lot of people have shown a lot of patience. He was a little bit fresh but because of the weather he hasn’t been off the bridle at home.

“He’ll improve for that and while I wouldn’t say I was concerned coming here, with a Group One penalty, I’m pleased it’s out of the way. He had to work in the last half-furlong, which will explain him drifting to the left.”

Though the aforementioned Ryan was disappointed that the Tom Eaves-ridden Brando could not prevail in this six furlong test, the day-one highlight of York’s Dante meeting, he was delighted with his sprinter’s performance as he paid tribute to Harry Angel.

“I’m delighted with him, it was a fantastic performance and he’s run a huge race,” he said as he revealed future plans. “He’s been beaten by a sensational sprinter on the day who was giving us weight.

“He won’t go to Ascot, we’ll try to box clever. He’s in the Greenlands Stakes in Ireland in a couple of weeks. We’ll then probably skip Ascot and go for the July Cup – he loves Newmarket – and the Prix Maurice de Gheest which he won last year.”

Meanwhile William Haggas is still to be convinced that Give And Take – winner of the Musidora Stakes – has the stamina for next month’s Epsom Oaks.

Though the filly challenged late under in-form jockey James Doyle, Skipton-born Haggas will assess future options carefully after this 10-furlong race.

The Oaks is staged over a mile and a half and the trainer said: “I don’t know about Epsom, I’ll have to talk to her owner/breeder (Nicholas Jones). He’s adamant she’ll stay further and I’m not so sure.”

Nevertheless, the win further reaffirmed the successful partnership between Haggas and Doyle who said of Give And Take: “She stayed on well. What a wonderfully game filly she is. I was pleased with her. Each time she’s ran to a creditable level. It took her a while to adapt to it but I was very pleased with her.”

Doyle and Haggas then won the finale on Reverend Jacobs.

Earlier, George Bowen was a dominant winner of the Infinity Tyres Handicap for trainer Richard Fahey and jockey Connor Beasley. Nearer last than first early on in this six-furlong contest, the winner made rapid headway from halfway.

“He was a sprinter out of form. He ran OK at Doncaster, but to go and win like that was a bit of a shock,” said Malton-based Fahey. “Let’s hope the handicapper doesn’t take it literally or it will be another two years before he wins again. He won a 100 grand handicap in Ireland. The handicapper there didn’t miss him and they struggle.”

Fahey then brought up a treble courtesy of the Paul Hanagan-ridden Clubbable and Charming Kid.

Yet, in a Royal week when Prince Harry will marry his fiancee Meghan Markle, this was Harry’s day.