Past Winners » Harbinger


My initial shortlist for this was fairly long, but it was easy enough to whittle down. Allied Powers is interesting, but he is a horse who likes to get his toe in and, although they are giving the ground as good, good to soft in places, there weren’t many good to soft places yesterday according to race times, and it is drying out all the time. I am happy to leave Allied Powers for another day.

Traffic Guard is interesting, but he is exposed now, he doesn’t have any secrets from anybody, and he is a horse who is at his best when he is fit rather than fresh, he usually comes into his own in late summer or early autumn. He usually goes to Dubai so that he is fit for the start of the UK campaign, but he hasn’t been to Dubai this season, and he just might improve for the run.

Clowance would surely prefer softer ground and Akmal should be better over further later in the season, while the market suggests that Purple Moon is going to need this, his first run for over a year. It is a little bit of a worry that the Racing Post’s Newmarket correspondent tips him this morning, but he will surely improve for this run, and he is surely therefore opposable.

The two improving four-year-olds, Harbinger and Manifest, are the two who interest me most and, of the pair, I just prefer Harbinger at the prices. His form last season was a lot better than Manifest’s. In fact, Manifest was a big talking horse, there was talk of supplementing him for the St Leger after he won his maiden by 20 lengths, but that didn’t come to pass, and he was disappointing on his final run of the season behind Akmal, when the ground was probably plenty quick for him. It just appears to me that he is priced up more on reputation than on substance, and I am always happy to take that kind of horse on until they prove worthy of the reputation.

Harbinger had a big reputation himself last season, but the maiden that he won at Chester worked out well, and he was most impressive in winning a good Gordon Stakes at Glorious Goodwood. He was really disappointing in the Great Voltigeur, but that run was way too bad to be true, and the ground at York was very fast. He was much better over this course and distance when third to High Heeled on his final start last season. Even though the ground would probably have been far softer than ideal for him, there was a lot to like about the way that he battled all the way to the line.

The Michael Stoute horses are just starting to run into a bit of form now, and Harbinger could progress to be a really good middle distance colt this term. His good run over the course and distance is a positive, and the ground, good ground, not too fast and not too soft, should be ideal. He is worth backing at 5/1.