Harry Angel runs back into winning form and gets ready for Royal Ascot

Greg Wood at York
The Guardian
<span>Harry Angel and the jockey Adam Kirby and take the Duke Of York Stakes at the Dante meeting.</span> <span>Photograph: Mick Atkins/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock</span>
Harry Angel and the jockey Adam Kirby and take the Duke Of York Stakes at the Dante meeting. Photograph: Mick Atkins/ProSports/Rex/Shutterstock

Harry Angel brushed aside one quirk on his record at York on Wednesday when he made a winning start to a new season for the first time in his career. He will now address another anomaly when he lines up for next month’s Diamond Jubilee Stakes at the Royal meeting at Ascot – the track where he has suffered all four of his defeats.

“People say he hasn’t won at Ascot but I think that’s just a fluke really,” Clive Cox, Harry Angel’s trainer, said after watching the four-year-old give 5lb and a two-length beating to the useful Brando. “I don’t think there’s anything to read into it too much.”

Possibly not but the nagging suspicion among some punters that Ascot does not play to Harry Angel’s strengths should at least keep his price at or around the 3-1 that is still available after his latest success.

Tasleet, who took the Group Two Duke Of York Stakes 12 months ago, was ruled out of the race on Wednesday morning and Harry Angel started at 4-9 as a result but Cox is confident his colt will find significant improvement for the run.

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“He was just a little bit fresh,” Cox said, “but then he’s not been off the bridle [when exercising] at home. With the ground we’ve had and the weather we’ve had, I know he’ll improve for today. He had to work in the last half furlong and that was what we couldn’t do at home. It will be Ascot next and then the July Cup [at Newmarket].”

Give And Take showed a useful turn of foot to finish in front of a promising field for the Group Three Musidora Stakes but neither William Haggas, her trainer, nor James Doyle, who steered her to a one-length win, seems convinced she will appreciate an extra quarter-mile in the Oaks at Epsom next month.

“She’s a three-year-old filly and she’s won a recognised trial,” Haggas said. “Her breeder [and owner, Nicholas Jones] always thought the one thing she would do is stay, so if he would like to have a crack at the Oaks, I’m not here to stop him.

“But I’m not convinced she’s going to be better at a mile-and-a-half. She’s super-game and really wants to win, and I thought they looked like a nice bunch, but we’ll see.”

Give And Take can be backed at 25-1 for the Oaks, a market headed by John Gosden’s Lah Ti Dar at 5-2. 

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