Clive Cox and Adam Kirby – the double-act with another chance of glory in Saturday's July Cup thanks to Golden Horde

RACINGS great double-acts have dominated the game for years.

Gosden and Dettori. O’Brien and Moore. Mullins and Walsh.

Further back Lester Piggot and Vincent O’Brien were always the team to beat.

But one unsung bromance has a Golden chance to hog the limelight in the July Cup at Newmarket this afternoon.

Lambourn trainer Clive Cox and jockey Adam Kirby both need no introduction.

Their relationship is one of the deadliest and most enduring in the modern era, in a sport where loyalty can be hard to come by.

A wet behind the ears Kirby joined Cox as an apprentice in 2005, and for the next 15 years they have tasted success at the top table with sprinting stars Lethal Force, Profitable and more recently Harry Angel.

And next on the production line is Commonwealth Cup champ Golden Horde – the favourite for the July Cup.

He's looking to follow in his dad's footsteps after Lethal Force provided Kirby and Cox with one of their red-letter days in this very race in 2013.

Unlike Golden Horde, there’s nothing flashy about Cox and Kirby, but they know how to get the best out of one another.

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Over the course of their time together, it would have been easy for Cox to favour a jockey under nine stone, or for Kirby to find a trainer closer to home in Newmarket.

But that was never going to happen.

“He’s like my second father,” said Kirby, always last out of the sauna due to his weight struggles.

The 31-year-old lives on a 70-acre farm just outside Newmarket and is known as one of the hardest grafters in the weighing room.

He prefers to do his talking on the track, but it’s no secret just how highly he holds his long-time boss.

Kirby added: “We’ve been together a long-time now. He knows me, I know him. 

“We’re both very honest with each other, that’s the way it always has been.

“It is what it is. We’re both straightforward, that’s all it takes. We’ve got a good relationship and hopefully long may it last.”

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Cox struggled with his own weight problems as a rider and was quick to make the switch from the Flat to jumpers, before he took out his own training licence in 2000, taking over from the late Mikey Heaton-Ellis and moving to his current yard, Beechdown Farm Stables.

The 56-year-old enjoyed a steady growth of winners year-on-year, and a reputation for getting the best out of bargain buys ensured Cox went from strength-to-strength.

And a constant of that was the man in the saddle.

Cox said: “We just trust one another, we have a very strong working relationship and personally I couldn’t wish to work with someone more reliable and honest.

“But most of all, he’s very good.

“I wish – like I’m sure he does – he was a few pounds lighter but in the meantime, he’s rock solid and is just a wonderful horseman.

“When you leg him up he gives you a lot of faith and confidence. You can sit back and know he’s going to do the right thing.

“If anything goes wrong you know he’ll do the right thing by the horse.

“We have a great relationship and I’m very proud to have been involved with him over the years.”

But like all trainers and jockeys, they need good horses. And Golden Horde looks to be just that.

A group-winner at two, he was always going to improve for a winter to grow and the Cox team have already reaped the rewards.

Cox added: “He was always a very big framed horse and he has now strengthened into that frame.

“We were over the moon with the progress he made over the winter and he clearly showed that well-being and potential at Ascot.

“He travelled so well through the race at Ascot and quickened away really nicely.

“It was a proper, high-class Group 1 and I’d like to think that run will put him even closer to perfect.

“He’s entitled, as any horse after their first run of the season is, to take that step forward.”

Cox knows what it takes to win the July Cup and his stable have been in fine form in the lead-up to the weekends feature race.

Cox continued: “Harry Angel won the race as a three-year-old for us and Lethal Force won it as an older horse but I’m as excited about Golden Horde’s chances as I was about those two before.

“Golden Horde is by Lethal Force who still holds the course record in the race.

“He has similar qualities to his father, but Golden Horde has an ability to act on any ground, whereas Lethal Force was not as effective on softer ground.

“Harry Angel was pure class and his performance at Newmarket in the Darley July Cup when beating the likes of Caravaggio and Limato was very good.

“It’s an amazing race and it’s a real thrill to be going into a race like this with a huge chance.”

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