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Article 30th September 2023 Newmarket

By Graham Clark

Clive Cox might be best known for having the Midas Touch with sprinters but he could have a live candidate for next year’s Betfred Derby on his hands after Ghostwriter maintained his unbeaten record in impressive fashion in the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket today, Juddmonte Day at the Cambridgeshire Meeting.     

Entering the mile Group Two prize on the back of victories at the July Course and last time out at Ascot the son of Invincible Spirit added to those successes when taking both a step up in class and trip in his stride. 

Having clocked a smart time on his previous appearance the Jeff Smith-owned colt travelled into contention on his latest outing in menacing fashion before laying down his challenge for glory inside the final two furlongs under Richard Kingscote. 

Moving on together with Al Musmak, the 100-30 chance soon got the better of the argument with the eventual runner-up when pulling out plenty and crossing the line with a length and a quarter to spare. 

Cox said: “That was very special and I’m so thrilled for Jeff (Smith). He has been improving with every run and that was a big step to take. I couldn’t be more pleased with the way he has carried it out and he looks full of promise going forward. 

“The dam (Moorside) won over a mile and a half and I think he has a very good middle-distance plan to go forwards with. He might get and a half, it is possible.   

“He was very much in his comfort zone and Richard was able to play him exactly as he felt and he quickened nicely when he met the rising ground there and I couldn’t be more pleased. 

“He has always been a nice horse, but he has always been maturing and having a frame to fill while keeping his strength moving forwards. This cements what we thought so far and the dream is very much alive for next year. 

“It is really exciting. We are normally known for our sprinting division but in the meantime it is such a joy to have a horse like this on our hands as it does set the pulse racing.”

While dreams of an outing in the Betfred Derby are very much alive, Cox admits Ghostwriter could still run in the Futurity Trophy at Doncaster on October 28th, which he was made a 4-1 chance with William Hill.

Cox added: “We will discuss that (Futurity Trophy entry) with Jeff and David (Bowe, racing manager) and see how he comes back, but I’d say the way he is physically developing all the time means I’d probably be thinking about next year. 

“We’ve had a couple of entries (in the Derby), but they were foal entries. This is the first potential live chance we could be thinking about going that way.    

“I’m just thrilled with what he has done today, and we can discuss that through the winter and make plans accordingly.”


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