Clive Cox's best laid plans paid spectacular dividends as Golden Horde delivered on his predicted promise at Royal Ascot, writes James Toney.
The Lambourn trainer had big hopes for his charge after an attention-grabbing win in the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood last summer.
While many plot a Classic campaign for their best two-year-old talent, Cox always knew Ascot's Commonwealth Cup, over a sharp six furlongs, would be best for his fleet-hoofed speedster.
And so it proved, as jockey Adam Kirby produced a patient but textbook ride to claim Friday's showpiece ahead of Wesley Ward’s American raider Kimari.
It was Cox's eighth victory at the meeting and his sixth in partnership with the steely but quietly-spoken Kirby.
"We always believed this year he would be able to take a step up physically," said Cox.
"He was a big horse last year, but he has really grown into that frame this year.
"I’m very proud of him. We have got a great team at home and to win a Group One first time out with any horse is difficult, but given the way things are this year, it's the same for a lot of people, but I am really proud.
"He is a horse to go forward with - I really hope and pray he has got a longer journey to go ahead of him.
"Adam is rock solid and we have enjoyed lots of good days here, this really takes the biscuit."
— Ascot Racecourse (@Ascot) June 19, 2020
Newmarket's July Cup now seems a probable target as Cox seeks to establish his emerging stable star among the top sprinters in Europe before the season concludes.
Cox has won that target race twice before and Golden Horde currently resides in the same stable used by his former sprint stars, father Lethal Force and Harry Angel, both previous Cartier Champion Sprinters.
"Golden Horde is a proper horse," said Kirby. "He has strengthened up very well over the winter. He is just like his dad, Lethal Force, and will improve as time goes on.
"Clive [Cox] is like a second father to me. We have always had a good relationship, and long may it last.
"We have been together a long time; he knows me and I know him, and we are very honest with each other. That's why we get on so well together.
"I have been a very lucky boy and ridden a lot of very good sprinters, but this lad is right up there. He is extremely talented."