CLIVE Cox is keen to let the dust settle on Lethal Force’s record-breaking performance in the Saturday’s Darley July Cup before committing him to future targets.
Something of a surprise winner when leading from pillar to post in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, the four-year-old grey proved that outstanding effort was no fluke with a dominant front-running display in the Newmarket sunshine.
Cox was particularly thrilled to see his star sprinter break Stravinsky’s 14-year course record and is looking forward to going in search of further top-level honours later this season.
“I was delighted he broke the track record as much as the victory itself,” said the Lambourn handler. “It wasn’t as though the times were falling all day. Some of the other times were quite ordinary, so for him to do that shows what a talented horse he is.
“We never doubted his Ascot performance and it’s great that he has backed that up. We’ll sit quiet for a week or so and have a think about where we go next. We’ve been gratefully invited to a few international races later in the year and everything will be considered, but at the moment we’re focusing on the targets in this country first.”
Cox was due to launch a twin assault on the July Cup, but was forced to rule exciting three-year-old Reckless Abandon out of the race at the 11th hour after he showed signs of developing an abscess below his jaw. The trainer is confident the colt will be ready to challenge for major honours before the season is out.
“Thankfully it doesn’t look a serious problem and as long as it keeps progressing as we hope it will, he should be back on the track at the top level fairly soon,” said Cox.
“The next few days are crucial, so hopefully we’ll get through those and we can make some plans, but we still have a lot of confidence in the horse. It’s great to have two horses of that calibre in the yard.”