Trainer Clive Cox (left) and jockey Adam Kirby (right) with Harry Angel after his July Cup victory

Trainer Clive Cox (left) and jockey Adam Kirby (right) with Harry Angel after his July Cup victory

Steve Davies/Racingfotos.com

Harry Angel Hands Caravaggio First Loss in July Cup

The son of Dark Angel turned the tables after his Commonwealth Cup defeat.

Godolphin's Harry Angel turned the tables on 3-year-old rival and previously undefeated Caravaggio in the July 15 Darley July Cup at Newmarket, where he won by 1 1/4-lengths over the best of the older horses, Limato, as Caravaggio finished fourth.

With Adam Kirby up for trainer Clive Cox, Harry Angel did not contest the early pace made by Intelligence Cross. Instead, Kirby waited until the final furlong and, when he gave the go-ahead, Harry Angel had enough in reserve to outfinish his nearest rival.

Brando finished third at long odds, as the six furlongs went in 1:11.25 over ground rated good to firm.

Harry Angel, a Dark Angel colt out of the Cadeaux Genereux mare Beatrix Potter, came to Newmarket after he finished second behind Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup (G1) at Royal Ascot. He led most of the six-furlong going that day and yielded only in the final 100 yards.

"Harry Angel has always been special and it has just taken kid gloves to get him going," Cox said. "We always hoped that he would be group 1 material and he has shown it today.

"Although he was beaten at Ascot, the look in Harry Angel's eye after he came off the track that day was almost like, 'OK, I am getting the hang of this,'  and I was very confident in his whole demeanor coming here today."

The Commonwealth Cup marked the fifth straight win for Caravaggio, who was being talked up for a possible run in the Everest Stakes (G1) at Royal Randwick in Australia in October—a race shaping up as a classic international grass sprint. Unsettled in the gate, the son of Scat Daddy tracked the pace in the Commonwealth and quickened briskly when asked by jockey Ryan Moore en route to his second group 1 win for the Coolmore partners and trainer Aidan O'Brien. 

Caravaggio again was slow to start in the July Cup, but never showed the turn of foot that easily got him to and beyond Harry Angel at Ascot. He was 1 3/4 lengths behind the winner in his first loss.

"I have always had it in my mind that Harry Angel is the best," Kirby said. "He would have won in the Commonwealth Cup but was a little bit unfortunate with the way the race turned out."

Limato was the best-fancied of the older horses in the July Cup. The 5-year-old Tagula gelding won last year's July Cup, went on to take the Qatar Prix de la Foret (G1) at Chantilly in October, and came in third behind The Tin Man and Tasleet in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot. The Tin Man finished eighth in the July Cup, with Tasleet last in the field of 10.