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VIDEO: Wings Of War prevails in Mill Reef battle
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VIDEO: Wings Of War prevails in Mill Reef battle
on 18 September 2021
Dark Angel has sired another speedy two-year-old in the shape of the Clive Cox-trained Group 2 winner

Wings Of War emulated his sire Dark Angel by flying home late to win the Dubai Duty Free Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury on Saturday.

Dark Angel is now enjoying an illustrious career at stud having retired at the end of his juvenile campaign, producing the likes of Battaash, Harry Angel and Mecca’s Angel, and Clive Cox will be hoping there is plenty more to come from his latest star.

Cox excels with speedsters, having had the likes of Lethal Force, the aforementioned Harry Angel and Supremacy through his hands in recent seasons, and in Wings Of War he looks to have another legitimate contender for top sprinting honours.

A winner at Nottingham in July, he then went close in a valuable sales race at York behind Ever Given but most recently he was a beaten favourite in the Sirenia Stakes at Kempton.

He looked to have plenty on his plate with a furlong to run, too, as Hugo Palmer’s Hierarchy, supplemented for the race on Monday, shot clear under Oisin Murphy.

Derby-winning jockey Adam Kirby clicked into overdrive and began to get a good tune out of his mount and then it became a question of whether the line would come too soon.

To the delight of his connections, Wings Of War (17/2) just managed to prevail by a head, with a length and a half back to Fearby in third.

Cox won the Mill Reef back in 2016 with Harry Angel and was bagging a second nice juvenile prize in two weeks after winning the Flying Childers at Doncaster with Caturra.

“We’ve loved him from the start, but they’ve got to go and do that for you,” said Cox.

“He showed a bit of greenness in his last couple of starts but Adam gave him a good ride today.

“He was good and he was ready for this sort of test today. I just hope and pray he turns out as good as the last winner of this race we had in Harry Angel.

“I’m not sure what we’ll do next, I’ll discuss it with (owner) Sheikh Isa and we’ll do what’s best for the horse. I’m not sure if he’d benefit from another run this year or whether we’ll be looking towards next year.”

He went on: “He’s got a bit of scope and maturity to develop into. He’s always given us plenty of confidence at home that he was a proper horse.

“It’s been a wonderful week, winning the Flying Childers last week and the Mill Reef today, it’s very special.

“I’m delighted for connections and we’ve got a proper horse for next year over six furlongs. I think that’s what he is, I don’t think we need to explore over further, why do we need to, we’ve just won a Group Two.

“Mentally there’s scope for him to improve so there’s the potential for more. He was even on edge when he got here today as there’s a bit going on, more than he’s used to, but as the day has gone on he’s got more at ease and put in a performance to be proud of.”

BATTLED WELL

Sir Michael Stoute’s Solid Stone continued his progression when battling back gamely to win the Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup Stakes.

Third in the Wolferton Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, he had just been coming up short in listed and Group 3 company until last time out at Windsor.

Connections decided on a change of tactics there and he made all the running to win a Group 3, but that meant he was carrying a penalty on this occasion.

William Buick replaced Richard Kingscote in the saddle but adopted the same tactics, however, with over a furlong to run he was swamped.

Odds-on favourite Al Aasy, who appeared to be going well, Foxes Tales and Ilaraab all went by Solid Stone, but Buick was yet to ask for everything.

As Al Aasy folded disappointingly on his first start since being gelded, Solid Stone (12/1) began to hit top gear and by the time the line came, he was going away again to beat Foxes Tales by a neck.

Buick said: “He’s at that level, obviously, he had a 3lb penalty. Al Aasy looked the class horse in the race but he had questions to answer.

“I spoke to Sir Michael and we couldn’t see any pace in the race and given he won from the front at Windsor, we decided to go on and take advantage of it.

“They jumped on him when he was still going through the gears, but you wouldn’t find many horses that have the tenacity that he has. He responded very well.

“I hadn’t gone for everything when they joined me as I could feel him winding up, but it’s not ideal to drop back and then go again at that stage of the race.

“He won going away which would encourage you to try a mile and a half at some stage.”

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