Of the weekend’s July Cup heroes, Lethal Force was easily the most relaxed yesterday. The four-year-old enjoyed a lazy lead out to stretch the limbs that had carried him to his record-breaking Group One victory and a prolonged pick at grass to settle his rather fizzy mind, then spent the rest of the day chilling in the cool of his box. Meanwhile his trainer Clive Cox, after sorting out his entries for the rest of the week – it’s back to bread and butter at Lingfield on Wednesday – fielded interminable phone calls of inquiry and congratulation.
Lambourn-based Cox was delighted that Lethal Force had put to bed the notion that last month’s Golden Jubilee Stakes victory had been a fluke. But what tickled him most was that in doing so the grey had galloped the straight six furlongs on Newmarket’s summer course faster than any horse in history.
The four-year-old, who led all the way under Adam Kirby, covered the undulating three-quarters of a mile in 1min 9.11sec, shaving four-tenths of a second off Stravinsky’s 1999 blitz. “When you think that horses have been racing there for more than two centuries, and of the quality of bloodstock that has come down that track, that’s something to be really proud of,” said Cox. “And it’s not as if times were going down all day on the fast ground; some of them were quite ordinary. So for him to do that shows just what an amazing talent he is.”
Lethal Force has all the attributes to become a real public favourite. He has that steely-silver coat, an emotively appropriate name, given his dominant trailblazing style, and is an ordinary lad made good. He cost just €8,500 as a yearling and has now won more than £680,000 for his owner Alan Craddock, who runs a bathrooms business in Tewkesbury.
The new sprinting star’s fans are not likely to see their hero in these parts until September, though. Next month a step up in trip to the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville, rather than down to the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, is on his agenda, followed by the Haydock Sprint Cup. Then will come the tantalising prospect of taking on the best Australians at their specialist subject in their own backyard later in the year.
One of those, Sea Siren, paid an immediate compliment to Lethal Force. The four-year-old had finished six lengths behind him when eighth at Royal Ascot and yesterday, on her first run for Aidan O’Brien, outclassed her rivals in a minor contest at Fairyhouse and heads for the Nunthorpe Stakes.
Chris McGrath’s Nap: Catflap (6.00 Windsor)
Yet to win, but has a good attitude and is on her lowest mark to date.
Next Best: Red Runaway (8.30 Windsor)
Dropped back in class after finding a Royal Ascot handicap too hot.