Calyx stakes Commonwealth claim with impressive Ascot verdict

John Gosden’s star powers clear in trial event

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Calyx maintained his unbeaten record with a blistering display in the Merriebelle Stable Commonwealth Cup Trial Stakes at Ascot.

Still in the 2000 Guineas mix until the end of last week, last year’s Coventry Stakes winner was rerouted to this six-furlong contest as trainer John Gosden felt it would be an easier option having not run for 316 days.

Sent off at the prohibitive odds of 1-3, Frankie Dettori was keen to get cover early on as The Cruising Lord took them along.

When the field spread across the track as the race began in earnest, Dettori unleashed Clayx down the outside as the famous pink cap of Khalid Abdullah’s colours flew off his head.

The son of Kingman ate up the ground, bounding clear to win by four lengths from No Nonsense and Betfair now make Calyx their 13-8 favourite for the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot in June.

Gosden said: “It was great. He went so fast Frankie’s hat flew off.

“He came back and said ‘John, he may be bred to be a miler, but he likes to sprint’, so all being well, we will be back here for the Commonwealth Cup.

“It is a great race now for three-year-olds and that is where he ought to go and he clearly showed that today.

“He travelled well and I like the fact he travelled on the wing of the field with no cover. He relaxed, but when he asked him to go, he showed real electric sprinting speed.

“I’ve been training him diligently to be a miler, but when he goes out there he wants to be a sprinter. I’ve not encouraged him to do that – that is him.

“I know he has a bundle of raw ability, but given the trainer was trying to make him a St James’s Palace horse, he clearly told me what he thought of that idea.

“He is good what he is good at. He is very fast. He is a gorgeous horse and has a lovely mind on him. To that extent, I’m lucky to have a great sprinter like that.”

Dettori added: “John said as he is so relaxed, we wanted to see if he could get a mile, but you saw it with your own eyes – he has so much speed we will stick to sprinting.

“When I rode him the other morning he was so relaxed, but he has come here and he is full on.”

David Elsworth, trainer of No Nonsense, was delighted with his performance in second.

He said: “He hasn’t arrived yet and he is a lovely horse. He is the only member of the family who won as a two-year-old. He has bags of scope and time is what he needs.

“He is a big, cumbersome three-year-old, but he moves like a gazelle. He is from the family of Lochsong and none of them come to fruition until they are four or five, so we are hoping he will go down the same road.”

Calyx stakes Commonwealth claim with impressive Ascot verdict
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