Caravaggio has lost his unbeaten tag and put a question mark on a trip to Australia for The Everest with his fourth behind fellow three-year-old Harry Angel in the July Cup at Newmarket.
The Clive Cox-trained Godolphin-owned Caravaggio finished second to Coolmore’s Caravaggio in the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot and went into Saturday’s July Cup as a 9-2 chance.
The warning signs that a first defeat could be on the cards for Caravaggio became apparent more than a quarter-of-a-mile (400m) out, with Ryan Moore hard at work on the 10-11 favourite, while Adam Kirby carved out a contrasting picture on Harry Angel.
Pressing the ‘go’ button approaching the final furlong the response was everything and more that Kirby could have wished for, with the change into top gear almost instantaneous.
Last year’s winner Limato attempted to mount a late challenge but could not get close, with a length and a quarter splitting the pair at the line. Brando was a further half-length away third and Caravaggio another short-head fourth.
“It was an achievement to beaten three-quarters of a length by Caravaggio and I am pleased we have taken his scalp today,” Cox said.”
“He is pretty special. I guess Haydock (Sprint Cup) would be very much on the cards and he is very easy and is not ground dependent. He is very versatile and we are lucky in that respect.”
Henry Candy, trainer of Limato, was delighted with the performance of the five-year-old in his bid for a repeat success and pointed to a potential rematch with the winner at Haydock in September.
Caravaggio’s trainer O’Brien pointed to a slow start as a possible hindrance to the colt’s bid to make it seven wins from as many starts.
“He ran very well,” he said.
“Ryan (Moore) said he was a little bit slow out the gates and that probably left him a bit on the back foot. I’m not making any excuses.”
Caravaggio is the $6.50 second elect for the $10 million Everest at Randwick on October 14 behind Chautauqua at $4.60.