Bjorn Baker is the first to admit he didn’t think much of Harpo Marx when the former European first arrived at his stable, but he has been quick to change his opinion.
The gelding took his record to three wins from six starts this campaign and passed his first stakes-grade test with flying colours with victory in the Group 3 Premier’s Cup (2000m) at Kembla Grange on Saturday.
It has taken him several preparations to discover his current vein of form, which is a world away from the limited talent he demonstrated upon arrival.
“I must say, when I gave him his first few gallops from Europe, I thought, ‘we’re in a bit of trouble here’,” Baker said.
“But he kept improving. You never know with these horses, look after them, give them time, they keep getting better and better, stronger and stronger.
Harpo Marx ($4.40 fav) relished a significant weight drop to finish strongly under Ms Rachel King and down fellow Darby Racing syndication Spirit Ridge ($4.80) by a head.
Inverloch ($10) was another three-quarters of a length away in third.
King has enjoyed a good association with Harpo Marx and was rapt to see him rise to the occasion in black-type company.
“This preparation compared to last prep, he has improved no end and being an import, I think he is still progressing,” King said.
“We haven’t seen the best of him yet. I’m really happy to see him get his head in front in this company.”
Pre-race fancy Heart Of Puissance was scratched 40 minutes prior to the Premier’s Cup on veterinary advice after he was found to be lame.