Force smashes July record
Lethal Force can now be truly acknowledged as one of the world's premier sprinters as he cracked the Newmarket track record in the Darley July Cup.
Ridden beautifully from the front by Adam Kirby to steal a maiden Group One win in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot three weeks earlier, the grey's jockey used the same tactics again and not one of his cosmopolitan opponents was capable of catching him.
While conditions were as conducive as they ever would be for a fast time, a measure of Lethal Force's standing can be given by the fact he covered the six furlongs in 1.09.11 – four-tenths of a second quicker than Stravinsky managed back in 1999.
Lethal Force (9/2) careered along the stands rail and evaded all challenges by a length and a half despite his fellow Group One stars Society Rock and 3/1 favourite Shea Shea throwing everything they had at him.
"Even when he won at Royal Ascot they said he was lucky and it was a good ride, but I think he's confirmed today he's pretty good. There might be a few doubters silenced now," said trainer Clive Cox.
"Physically he has matured, and strengthening from three to four has been the key. To break the track record is brilliant. I was a bit worried about the undulations but he put that to bed really well. Adam said if anything he was idling a bit in front, he gave him a smack and the result was clear.
"He's a seven-furlong Group Two winner, so the Maurice de Gheest is possible (over six-and-a-half furlongs at Deauville) and beyond that we've had lots of kind invitations from as far afield as Australia and Hong Kong. We'll just take it a step at a time."
Owner Alan Craddock said: "They'll still say Adam stole the race but he's shown he's such a good horse. He's the horse of a lifetime for us."
Society Rock, which beat Lethal Force on unfavourable terms in May's Duke of York Stakes, picked up second.
Trainer James Fanshawe, who had a recent spell in hospital, said: "He ran really well and I'm so proud of how the team have prepared him since I've not been around. It's the most consistent he has ever been."