Harbinger plans nearing D-Day

AN announcement on who rides Harbinger in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes could be made this week.

Speculation has been rife on who will team up with the in-form Sir Michael Stoute-trained four-year-old in the Betfair-sponsored showpiece at Ascot on July 24.

Frankie Dettori and Paul Hanagan are among the big names being linked with Harbinger after his regular partner Ryan Moore revealed he would stick with stablemate Workforce following their triumph in the Investec Derby.

Harbinger is unbeaten in three starts this term, culminating the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“We’re still waiting to hear on jockey booking confirmations and all that,” said Harry Herbert, racing manager to owners Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.

“There’s no news on that, but the horse is very well. We are really pleased with him and we are touching wood everywhere that he continues the way he is.

“It doesn’t look as though there will be too big a field in the race so it’s just a question of seeing who is doing what and we are in Sir Michael’s hands on that one.

“He’s just waiting to hear. We have had conversations, but I can’t talk about that until we’ve had confirmation.

“I guess it wouldn’t take a genius to know what the short-list would be. It’s just waiting for the cards to fall and for trainers with other runners in the race knowing what they are going to do.

“Hopefully, something will be forthcoming this week.

“He’s such a special horse, he’s such a beautifully-looking horse with a great temperament.

“We’ve seen this year he has a lovely cruising speed and then a tremendous turn of foot to quicken off that pace.

“We’ll see. This is what it’s all about from my side of things. It’s a big syndicate manager’s dream to have a horse like Harbinger, who will hopefully be lining up for Europe’s greatest midsummer spectacle.”

Harbinger is 5-2 second favourite for the King George behind Workforce, the 4-5 market leader.

Meanwhile Michael Bell is keeping Sariska under wraps until the rains come ahead of a crack at the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The star filly’s end-of-season campaign will be geared round Longchamp’s Group One showpiece in October.

She has run just twice so far this term, winning the Middleton Stakes at York in May and finishing second to Fame And Glory in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June.

The going for both races was far from ideal and Bell wants to avoid quick conditions for Sariska in future.

“She’s very well, she’s cantering, but we are loathe to run her on fast ground again,” said Bell. “We are very much targeting the Arc. We don’t want to run her on good to firm ground again, certainly in the short term.

“We are basically waiting for a break in the weather.”

The Newmarket trainer is hoping there will be enough cut in the ground to allow Allied Powers to take his chance in a Group One over a mile and a half at Hamburg on Saturday. The five-year-old entire gave Bell his 1000th training success when landing a Group Two at Chantilly last month.

“He’s pencilled in for Hamburg,” he went on. “We are going to monitor the weather there and make a decision on whether he goes to Hamburg.”


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