Clive Cox and Adam Kirby are a potent combination when it comes to superstar sprinters and the pair combined at Royal Ascot on Friday when Golden Horde ran out an impressive winner of the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup.
With the field splitting into two groups in the early stages, Golden Horde headed proceedings on the near side and soon flew into the led at the halfway mark. Despite the challenge of the Wesley Ward-trained Kimari, Golden Horde wasn’t for catching as he won by a length and a half.
Golden Horde is by Haras de Grandcamp resident Lethal Force, who Cox trained to win the Group 1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes back in 2013. Golden Horde had ended his two-year-old campaign with a neck second behind the highly regarded Earthlight in the Middle Park Stakes last year.
Cox said: “I’m very pleased with him today. He was a great horse last year and we thought he would build again this year and he’s clearly shown that.
“To win a Group 1 at Royal Ascot is very special. Adam is rock solid, and we’ve enjoyed some really good days here. It’s been a strange start to the year and coming here first time out was a real tough task and I’m proud of my team at home.
“He is out of a Pivotal mare [Entreat] and by Lethal Force, who we enjoyed such a wonderful day with when winning the Diamond Jubilee in 2013 – it is very special. We always trained him last year with the knowledge that with the right sort of behaviour, he would be a better horse this year.
“It is just fantastic when it goes right and when dreams are realised. Adam is rock solid, and we enjoyed lots of good days here, this really takes the biscuit. I am really pleased for Sheikh Sultan. It’s a shame there are no owners here, but I am really grateful for his support.”
Kirby added: “Golden Horde is a proper horse. When he had his first run at Newbury last season, we knew he was pretty decent, but he’s done nothing but improve.
“He has strengthened up very well over the winter. He is just like his dad, Lethal Force, and will improve as time goes on.”
The Lir Jet emulates sire with Norfolk success
Four years after Prince Of Lir lit up Royal Ascot in the Norfolk Stakes, The Lir Jet emulated his own sire by capturing the 2020 edition when he got up in the closing stages to deny American raider Golden Pal by a neck.
The success vindicated Qatar Racing’s decision to shell out for the juvenile after he had broken the track record at Yarmouth on debut last month when racing in the colours of Nick Bell, son of trainer Michael Bell.
“During the race, I was a bit worried when the leader went so far clear,” said Michael Bell. “Oisin [Murphy] obviously thought he had it in control, but The Lir Jet battled.
What a race!
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 19, 2020
“He is very inexperienced – he had only run the once – and has never had to dig in before because when he won at Yarmouth, he won on the bridle. He has learnt how to race today and I think you will see an even better performance next time, hopefully.
“My son Nick found him from Robson Aguiar, who bought him very cheaply and was going to breeze him. When the breeze-ups were cancelled Robson and Nick came to an arrangement and the horse came to us.
“Then Sheikh Fahad was watching Yarmouth on telly and sent me a text asking if he was for sale, and the rest is history. A good bit of business for all involved, and very nice for us to have a good winner for a very important owner.”
Dandalla too good in Albany
Karl Burke looks to have another exciting filly on his hands judging by the performance of Dandalla in the Group 3 Albany Stakes at Royal Ascot on Friday.
The two-year-old had only made her debut at Newcastle earlier this month and ran away with the 6f contest once hitting the front under jockey Ben Curtis, for whom it was a first-ever success at the Royal meeting.
Burke, whose other Royal Ascot winner was 2016 Commonwealth Cup heroine Quiet Reflection, said: “We were worried about the rain the last 48 hours. I walked the track yesterday and it was very wet. We didn’t have as much rain today, but the ground is tacky.
“The thing that sort of tempered that was in her work, Dandalla has always been a strong galloper with a turn of foot. She has plenty of stamina on the dam’s side and I think that came into play today and hopefully that will come into play again in the future with maybe the 1,000 Guineas.
“If Dandy Man [her sire] is going to have a 1,000 Guineas winner, it could be her.
“Quiet Reflection was our first Royal Ascot winner and that was a massive result for us. This is a great result and it’s great to get a two-year-old winner here. I think we have done well with the two-year-olds over the last ten years. To go and buy one for €22,000, our daughter Kelly will be absolutely delighted as she bought her at the sale.”
Curtis added: “It is on every jockey’s to-do list. I have been coming down to Royal Ascot for a good while now and not really getting involved, so finally to get a winner is unbelievable.
“I came there at the two [furlong pole] travelling very well, and I just popped her between a couple just inside the two, and she came alive. I knew when we accelerated that nothing else would be able to pick up the way I did, because she picked up very well.
“In the last furlong I said, ‘We’re out on our own’, and it was a brilliant feeling and a great performance by the filly.”
Art Power looks destined for bigger things
Art Power turned Friday’s opening race, the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap, into a procession as he ran away to secure a three and a half length victory for trainer Tim Easterby, jockey Silvestre de Sousa and owner King Power Racing.
William Easterby, assistant to his father, said: “Art Power is a really nice horse. It was Alastair Donald’s [King Power Racing Manager] decision which race to go for, so we left it up to him and it worked out well.
“Art Power is a horse we have always liked. We took our time with him last year and it seems to have paid off. He won over six furlongs last time, so we will go for either five or six furlongs next time – we will just see what is around.
“This race was the first target. It was great to get a winner for the King Power team as they love this meeting so much. We will see how he is and then go from there. We are really grateful for King Power’s support. They are great to train for and we are lucky to get some good horses for them.”
An electrifying performance from hot favourite Art Power as he flies to victory in the Palace of Holyroodhouse Handicap! 👀🚀
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 19, 2020
Seventy up for Dettori
Frankie Dettori secured his 70th victory at Royal Ascot thanks to Fanny Logan’s success in the Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes.
It was a textbook ride from the jockey, who delivered the daughter of Sea The Stars to challenge in the final furlong before securing a comfortable two and a half length win over Alounak in second.
Dettori said: “I love Fanny Logan. On paper, I thought maybe we were just racing for a place, but John gave me a lot of confidence and said she had come out of Haydock really well. She had improved mentally and physically.
“I was further back than I wanted to be, but they started racing pretty early and by the time I got to the furlong marker, they were all dead and she showed a good turn of foot – it was good.
“She has improved from three to four, she is bigger and stronger, she was very fit, and she liked the ground. It was a proper performance and she has definitely improved from last year.
“I actually forgot I was one short one short of 70 winners, so that’s another milestone – it is good. It’s brilliant to have 70 – that’s a lot.”
Doyle’s breakthrough success
Hollie Doyle has been in a rich vein of form since racing resumed and her talents were on display for all to see when she guided the Alan King-trained Scarlet Dragon to victory in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes.
That success saw Doyle register her first Royal Ascot winner and the jockey spoke of her delight after the race.
“This means a huge amount to me,” she said. “You walk into Ascot every year with really high hopes and try to picture in your head what it’s like to ride a winner her, but it is very hard to come across winners, as I have learnt.
“This today was amazing for me. It is definitely the icing on the cake. I have got a lot of people to thank for my success; I can’t really put into words what it means.”
In the Queen’s Vase, Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore partners look to have a very credible St Leger contender in the shape of Santiago, who was an easy winner of the Group 2 event.