After breaking the 6f July Course track record on Saturday, praises are now being sung of Alan Craddock-owned Lethal Force, most recent winner of the Darley July Cup at Newmarket.
Beating a field of considerable talent and clocking in with a time of 1:11, the four-year-old grey will now be considered the fastest sprinter in Europe.
Having re-established his credentials as a top-class competitor with a Diamond Jubilee Stakes victory at Royal Ascot last month, the July Cup solidifies Lethal Force’s position at the summit of racing’s hierarchy, but the journey doesn’t end there.
Despite the best efforts of Society Rock and Shea Shea, Adam Kirby rode the colt well up the stands rail, fending off late competition to see out the crucial win.
Speaking after the race on his relationship with Lethal Force, Kirby told the Racing Post:
I didn't steal it at Ascot and this horse is a machine, a hell of a horse. He doesn't have to front run. he is uncomplicated and has a high cruising speed. We got into a beautiful rhythm, everything was going nicely to plan. Just after the two [furlong pole] he lost all his concentration. When I gave him a smack he jinked and nearly slipped because he wasn't expecting it.
As is common practice in the sport, Lethal Force is unlikely to travel abroad under the ownership of Alan Craddock, who continues to enjoy a good relationship with both trainer Clive Cox and jockey, Kirby.
Just as it does for a tennis player, the proposition of competing in unfamiliar environments is one not particularly appetising to most owners or trainers, who tend to dedicate their development to just the one climate.
However, if Lethal Force is to truly be considered the quickest in the world in his trade, the colt must broaden his horizons, lest he settle for continental honours, although no small feat in itself.
Commenting via the Racing Post, Cox touched on Lethal Force’s horizons, noting:
The horse deserves the credit today after all the reports that Adam rode them to sleep to win the race at Ascot. The course record time is something I will cherish and he will have all the major sprints on the agenda.
From that, perhaps we can expect to see the July Cup champion on foreign shores, although there’s no reason to get one’s hopes up just yet.