There was no love for Tofane in Saturday’s...
Trainer Gerald Ryan concedes that the conditions of Saturday’s Group 2 Missile Stakes (1200m) won’t suit Harper’s Choice, but he is confident that the race will allow a firm indicator as to where to head with the rising four-year-old in spring.
Harper’s Choice has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his short racing career so far and was last seen finishing a strong second behind Kiwi raider Jon Snow in the Group 1 Australian Derby (2400m) on April 1st, having led the race throughout.
Ryan told AAP that he is unsure if the horse is a genuine stayer and will use his run in the Group 2 Missile Stakes and possible appearance alongside Winx in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) on August 19th to determine if he will be set for the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
“It’s a good place to kick off with him,” Ryan said.
“The plan is to run him over 1200 then 1400 metres and decide after that whether he could be an Epsom horse.
“I’m not convinced he is a stayer but we’ll keep an open mind until we see him race.”
Harper’s Choice has shown plenty of ability since making his competitive debut at Newcastle in June last year and has continued to improve through each subsequent preparation.
Resuming in November for third in a Canterbury minor over 1200m, the Street Cry entire stormed home to post a maiden race win in a Kembla Grange 1500m race on December 15th, before placing second in the #TheRaces BM67 (1800m) on January 2nd.
Returning to winning form via a dominant five-length triumph in the TAB Rewards BM64 (1900m) on January 11th, Harper’s Choice ran second behind Sizzling Bullet at Randwick on Australia Day before finishing an impressive sixth in the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m); his first appearance amongst black type company.
Enjoying another step up in distance when fifth in the Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) in what was his only other start prior to the Australian Derby on March 18th, Harper’s Choice has trialled well in the lead-up to the Missile Stakes.
The 2017 Missile Stakes field and barrier draw is due to be completed and released by midday, Wednesday (August 2nd).
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