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The booking of Rachel King has swayed connections to start Harmony Rose at Randwick

Buoyed by the early-season form of two of Harmony Rose’s autumn foes, Mark Newnham is optimistic the Group 1 placegetter can make her mark during the Sydney carnival.

Placed behind Lion’s Roar and Mo’Unga in the Randwick Guineas and runner-up to Hungry Heart in the Adrian Knox Stakes, Harmony Rose will make her spring return in Saturday’s Bill Ritchie Handicap (1400m) at Randwick.

It will be her first appearance as a mare but with Mo’unga resuming with a Winx Stakes victory over star galloper Verry Elleegant and Hungry Heart competitive in the same race, Newnham says the signs are positive that the three-year-old form from the autumn is solid.

“If you look at the four-year-olds that have stepped out so far this year that she had form around, Mo’unga has run very well, and I thought Hungry Heart performed well without a lot of luck,” Newnham said.

“She had form around them and that form, at four, looks to be confirmed, plus she had a fair bit of natural improvement to come.”

Harmony Rose was entered for the Tibbie Stakes at Newcastle on Friday but Newnham opted to go to Randwick, mainly to ensure Rachel King could ride her.

Newnham has designs on an Epsom Handicap tilt with Harmony Rose and he is keen for King to stick with her in the feature where she has just 50kg.

King partnered her in a recent trial and despite a minor setback when she kicked out on the walker and struck herself, Harmony Rose has had an otherwise faultless build up.

“I had her in early enough where we had lots of time anyway, so it really hasn’t interrupted her preparation at all,” Newnham said.

“I’ve kept her ticking over the whole time, she had a good trial the other day with Rachel on and she’s done a fair bit of work since then, so she’s not far off the mark.”

Top New Zealander Probabeel had similar three-year-old autumn formlines to Harmony Rose and claimed the Bill Ritchie-Epsom Handicap double as a four-year-old mare last year.

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