Harbinger Brings Doom for Bookies
1 Harbinger 8/11F
Harbinger continued a great week for punters when become the 10th winning clear or joint favourite to score at this year’s Royal Ascot when landing the Hardwicke Stakes at odds of 8/11.
“We need to sit down and have a good old chat about what the best thing is to do now. The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes is a long way off but we’ll have to go for a Group One now with him,”
It was a third win of the week for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing and the partnership’s managing director Harry Herbert said: “Sir Michael has the Derby winner (Workforce) in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes and if he wants to run Harbinger in the same race, we certainly wouldn’t put him off.
“Sir Michael wouldn’t commit to the King George, he just gave us one of his silences when it was mentioned! But it’s a race we would seriously consider although I’m sure Sir Michael would steer us elsewhere if he thought Workforce was unbeatable.
“He is such an exciting horse. Looking at him in the parade ring today, you could see how well he was progressing and Ryan (Moore) will tell you how impressive he was.
“It was all looking very good after he won the Gordon Stakes last season and Sir Michael kept saying that he was next year’s horse and that everybody should be patient. I think he still expected him to win the Great Voltiguer but something very odd happened that day - whether he had a palate scenario when it possibly flipped and stopped his airway.
“That seemed the most likely situation so he had a very minor operation done over the winter and he has come out this season and has been a different horse. Physically he is different and the chat has been good for some time but to have a horse like this is very, very special and we know how lucky we are.
“Going to see him morning after morning on the gallops in Newmarket has been really special and something his owners will never forget.
“It has been an incredible week to have three winners and a short head second in the Queen’s Vase from four or five runners, and with Martyr still to come. It’s incredible and the lovely thing is that is different syndicates each time. There are 12 people involved with this horse and 20 with some of the others, so a lot of people are getting a crack at the fun. That’s what you aspire to do when you set up a syndicate.
Ryan Moore added: “He did that well. He got a few bumps early on and it wasn’t as smooth as I would have liked. It just steadied the pace up and I had to get him rolling a bit sooner than I planned. He quickened up very well and has done that easily - he has beaten inferior horses and he enjoyed it. He is a pleasure to ride and a very straightforward horse.
“I just want to say well done to the Highclere team, with three winners this week and a second as well.”
NO RUNNING TO PONTEFRACT FOR IMPROVING DUNCAN
There was no disgrace for the placed horses who chased home runaway winner Harbinger in the Hardwicke Stakes, and their trainers had no complaints.
Harbinger beat Duncan by three and a half lengths, while Barshiba was another six lengths behind in third.
John Gosden, who trains Duncan for Philippa Cooper’s Normandie Stud, said: “He came from last and went right through the field like a knife through butter, but somebody [Harbinger] flew, which is not surprising. We’re really happy and I liked the way he was closing down the winner.
“Our horse sprung a hind shoe on his last run [at Ascot, when second to Barshiba] and it was bothering him. It seemed like a bit of a disaster because we expected him to win and he didn’t. We had the courage not to run off to Pontefract tomorrow, but to come here and he’s run a blinder.
“It was a disappointment when he was beaten, but he’s back to his best. We have no immediate plans other than to find the right type of race.”
David Elsworth, who trains Barshiba for Jeff Smith, said: “She ran well and I feel there’s a little more to come. When she beat Duncan here he didn’t run his race and I think that was a softer contest. It led us into thinking she had come to her best earlier than she normally does. I was pleased with her.”
Asked about plans for Barshiba, Elsworth said: “I mentioned Melbourne to Jeff, and he said, ‘Talk to the hand - the face ain’t listening’!”
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