Lethal Force Speeds to Record in July Cup
Lethal Force made all the pace and won the Darley July Cup (Eng-I) in course record time July 13 at Newmarket, stamping himself as Europe's top sprinter in the July Festival's marquee race.
Alan Craddock's 4-year-old Dark Angel colt led up the stand's side and comfortably held back runner-up Society Rock for the second straight race in a 1 1/2-length victory. Lethal Force lowered the July Course standard for the distance to 1:09.11.
The previous course record of 1:09.51 was set by Stravinsky in the 1999 July Cup.
Lethal Force led from the start and secured the win about a quarter-mile out when urged on by jockey Adan Kirby, but he nearly lost his footing when the rider surprised him with a tap of the whip.
"He's fast," Kirby told England's Press Association. "I jumped out, got into a beautiful rhythm, and things went nicely to plan but he had no concentration just after the two pole.
"When I gave him a smack he jinked, he nearly slipped, he wasn't expecting it. But he was very good."
Lethal Force began the year May 15 at York, finishing second by a head to multiple group I-winning sprinter Society Rock in the Duke of York Stakes (Eng-II). He exacted revenge June 22 at Royal Ascot, where he made nearly all the pace to win the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) by two lengths at 11-1 odds from his familiar rival, the 4-1 favorite.
Lethal Force's win at 9-2 odds in the July Cup capped a double of Europe's most valuable sprints, as both races carry a £500,000 purse.
"He came back from Ascot really well and he was cherry-ripe today," trainer Clive Cox said. "To break the (July Course) track record is brilliant."
Society Rock raced in midfield early in the July Cup before rallying under Kieren Fallon to chase the winner inside the final furlong. He couldn't catch Lethal Force, but outfinished 16-1 Slade Power by three-quarters of a length for second, with 3-1 favorite Shea Shea a neck back in fourth.
South African star Shea Shea won the Al Quoz Sprint (UAE-I) at about five furlongs in March at Meydan, but trainer Mike de Kock said he thinks six furlongs of the July Cup was asking too much of his runner, who lacked his usual finishing kick.
Group I winner Krypton Factor, who was third in the Diamond Jubilee, was scratched from the July Cup after rearing up and kicking his gate open before the start.
Lethal Force has four wins, including the 2012 Hungerford Stakes (Eng-II) at Newbury, four seconds, and three thirds from 15 career starts. He is the top performer for Dark Angel, an 8-year-old by Acclamation who stands in Ireland at Morristown Lattin Stud.
Lethal Force is out of the Desert Style mare Land Army, a half sister to English stakes winner Flanders, who finished second in the 1999 King's Stand Stakes (Eng-II), and is from the family of French classic winner Flotilla, winner of the 2012 Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (gr. IT).
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