Bernborough Plate 2020: The Harrovian made to dig deep in the 11th hour

The legend of The Harrovian grew another notch as the North Queensland champ extended his winning streak to 11 after fending off what looked certain defeat in the Listed Bernborough Plate.

It made it two stakes wins from two attempts since joining the Toby and Trent Edmonds team, after Cairns trainer Stephen Massingham won 12 races in 14 starts with him.

“I sold out at the 150m,” Massingham said, having caught a flight south on Saturday morning with owner Tom Hedley and another big support team.

Brad Stewart is a man who is conservative with the words he chooses, but he conceded he’s developed a real soft spot for The Harrovian.

“He’s been a good horse for me. I wish I had found him three years ago,” he said.

The Harrovian looked in all sorts of trouble as Gaulous, Niccanova and Skate To Paris ambushed him inside the 250m, but winners win and he dug deep to fend them all off.

“I wouldn’t say I was confident. I was a bit worried,” Stewart said.

“I didn’t feel I was out of it, but I thought we had another fight on our hands.

“To his credit he just did what he’s been doing. When things looked a bit iffy, he found again. He was strong as anything on the line.”

The Harrovian (orange colours) holds off (from left outside him) Gaulois (4th), Niccanova (2nd) and Skate To Paris (3rd) in the Bernborough Plate at Eagle Farm to record his 11th straight win. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:The Courier-Mail

Toby Edmonds said The Harrovian would now go for a well-earned spell, with bigger targets in the winter sure to come on the radar.

“This is great for racing,” he said.

“It’s a pleasure to train a horse like him.

“I think he’s better if they roll along a bit, but full credit to the horse.

“He’s going to get beaten sometime, because he’s no Winx or (Black Caviar), but he’s a bloody good horse and full credit to him.”

Shooting For Gold will run one week before his Magic Millions Guineas grand final in a bid give him every hope of running 1400m after he again did things wrong before winning yesterday.

Justin Huxtable said Shooting For Gold wanted to over-race in what was a very slowly run race on Saturday — they went out their first 600m in worse than 38 seconds — so it was a tidy effort to still find enough to win.

Hoysted said the plan is to now run in the $250,000 Magic Millions Rising Stars on January 9, a week before the Guineas.

Co-trainers Steve O’Dea and Matt Hoysted have been open in fearing the 1400m of the Guineas might be a stretch for the gelding and feel his best chance to settle in that race is running a week earlier and just taking the edge off him.

Owner Tom Hedley and jockey Brad Stewart after The Harrovian’s 11th straight win at Eagle Farm. Picture: Trackside PhotographySource:The Courier-Mail

THE VERDICT

SHAQUERO SHOCKER

Shaquero may have the chance to redeem himself and get back into Magic Millions calculations in a fortnight after he fell out of favour with his B.J. McLachlan flop.

Trainer Chris Waller has the option of running the colt in the Aquis Gold Nugget (1100m, 2yo C&G) a week before the Magic Millions.

Reports from Eagle Farm suggested Shaquero seemed to have pulled up OK, with no obvious issues.

Waller told journalists in Sydney there was no way he would go into the MM off a run like that, so the January 9 race shapes as pivotal to his chances of running in the $2 million race if he presses on.

Luke Dittman said Shaquero was a totally different horse on Saturday to the one he had ridden in a trial back in September and from the moment he popped off the fence early in the race, he was never comfortable.

“We all know he’s a good horse. We know that from his race and his trials. That wasn’t him today,” he said.

“He wanted to over-race and was never comfortable. He was very green and just wasn’t the horse he should have been. They are only two-year-olds and that can happen.”

JMAC’S MM BID

Top jockey James McDonald will get out of Sydney early this week and head to Northern New South Wales in a bid to be right to enter Queensland for Magic Millions Day.

Byron Bay seems the likely option for McDonald, who won two races on MM day last year and could have won a third, but for forfeiting the ride on Primitivo after failing to make the weight.

McDonald’s manager Mark Guest said the plan is to get out of Sydney’s hotspot so he will be allowed into Queensland by January 16.

“My understanding is he can do two weeks in a non-hot spot area,” Guest said.

“That’s going to give him his best chance to get across and ride at Magic Millions.”

Guest said the worst case scenario is even if McDonald isn’t allowed into Queensland, it is still a good time to take a break ahead of next year’s autumn carnival in Sydney.

She’s All Class, the new favourite, firmed as the likely Millions ride for McDonald after Shaquero’s run on Saturday.

Hugh Bowman plans to do something similar by spending time in his home town of Dunedoo and other Sydney jockeys may do the same.

KICKBACK ISSUES AGAIN

Jockeys reported more kickback at Eagle Farm on Saturday than the first two meetings this month, but also noted the surface underfoot is now providing more give than it was previously.

Officials gave the track 10mm of water on Friday night, which left the possibility for some kickback. They said that is a more preferable scenario than serving up the hard surface that it has been known for this year.

Glen Boss noted on SKY racing after winning the Grand Prix on The Elanora that certain parts of the track had kickback.

“They are going to have to really monitor this,” he said.

NOTHING IN IT

It’s fair to say Brad Stewart and Toby Edmonds weren’t too concerned about the protest against The Harrovian as the inquiry unfolded on Saturday.

“I will let the video speak for itself,” Stewart said. “There was very little contact, it was a very minor brush. My horse was obviously holding the other horse. It had every chance to give its best.”

Edmonds went a step further.

“I’m not quite sure why we’re here, but good luck to them,” he said.

The Harrovian did shift out and Michael Cahill argued he couldn’t use his whip to maximum effect and it forced his horse to change strides, but stewards didn’t concur.

In fact it took chief stipe Peter Chadwick longer to explain the verdict than it did for he and the panel to consider the result of the objection.

JOCKEY INJURED AT COAST

Matt Palmer was conscious, but taken to hospital for observations after a nasty looking fall at the Gold Coast on Saturday.

Palmer was catapulted high in the air when Tactical Mover stumbled and went through the inside running rail at the 300m point.

MALONEY PLAYS IT SAFE

Ryan Maloney hopes to be back riding Wednesday after “erring on the side of caution” by pulling the pin on his Eagle Farm rides after hurting his knee at trackwork on Saturday.

“The horse I was on just whipped around and I felt a sharp pain in my knee,” he said.

“I iced it when I got home and it swelled up quite bad.

“The last time it happened I pushed on and ended up with a bad strain in it.

“The doctor said it’s just a bit of soft tissue damage and doesn’t think it’s anything to be concerned about. He just said give it a couple of days rest and give it some anti-inflammatories.”

English jockey Leonna Mayor is on fire after making the switch from the saddle to a television studio in a boom time for women in racing….

English jockey Leonna Mayor is on fire after making the switch from the saddle to a television studio in a boom time for women in racing.

STUD’S BIG DAY

Morning Rise Stud had a big few hours on Saturday, simultaneously boosting the value of a filly heading to the Gold Coast Magic Millions next month.

Splendoronthegrass won in the Morning Rise colours at Eagle Farm, while her half-sister Jazz Etude became the first winner for star stallion I Am Invincible in Japan by winning at Nakayama.

Morning Rise will sell a full-sister to Jazz Etude, a $650,000 graduate of the sale herself, on the Gold Coast.

Originally published asCult horse made to dig deep in the 11th hour

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