Horses To Follow » Harbinger


It was only a maiden that Harbinger won at Chester on Wednesday, but it was a hugely impressive performance. All the vibes about the son of Dansili before the race were that he was a useful individual, and those vibes proved to be accurate. He travelled well throughout just behind the pace, and showed a startling turn of foot once he straightened up to come clear. The Ballydoyle colt Changingoftheguard moved up menacingly a furlong and a half out, and looked a big danger at that stage, but Harbinger just came away from him, and Changingoftheguard came clear of the remainder.

Time may show that this was a really good maiden. Chester Cup winner Daraahem won it last year, and Harbinger’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute won two of the last four renewals with Al Tharib (subsequent Group 3 runner-up) and Mountain High (subsequent Group 1 winner). Harbinger could only finish second in the Wood Ditton Stakes at Newmarket on his only previous run, and the winner of that race, Militarist, looked to be fairly well exposed behind Parthenon in a conditions stakes at Sandown subsequently, while the third horse, Big Bay, got beaten in a Class 4 maiden at Kempton subsequently. However, Harbinger has obviously progressed markedly from there, as befits a Stoute debutant, and he should be able to progress again. Derby quotes of as short as 20/1 are not giving much away, but he is entered in the King Edward VII Stakes at Royal Ascot, and he would have to go on any shortlist for that race.

6th May 2009