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Image: Darren Winningham
Star Cairns galloper The Harrovian has won his last eight starts

Trainer Stephen Massingham has his star performer, The Harrovian, in action at Doomben on Saturday in an Open Quality race.

The Cairns based trainer certainly doesn’t over-complicate things and he has a very clear and concise view of what The Harrovian can and cannot do.

“No, the distance won’t be a problem,” said Massingham when asked about The Harrovian stepping up in distance from 1400m to 1640m. It shouldn’t be, with the Fastnet Rock gelding having already won over distances ranging from 1200m to 2400m.

“Yeah, Brad (Stewart) is on him again,” confirmed Massingham. Stewart piloted The Harrovian to his first city victory at Eagle Farm last start. No need to change a winning combination.

“No, I’m not concerned about the weather,” said Massingham. The forecast, after a week of storm activity, is for heavy rain on Saturday afternoon. “He’s running, whatever. He goes through the wet. He’ll handle it.”

Short, sweet and to the point. No ifs, or buts, or maybes.

When informed that The Harrovian had arguably already chased two horses away (Top Prospect and Junction are early scratchings from the race), Massingham quipped, “That’s not enough.”

All of the above translates into a pretty straightforward and down to earth approach to The Harrovian’s task as the seven-year-old gelding searches for nine wins in a row.

In fact, if you want to be even more impressed, The Harrovian has had thirteen starts since transferring to the Massingham yard for eleven wins and two runner-up finishes … and, adding to that glowing report, is this all came after The Harrovian nearly died from travel sickness … before having any starts for Masssingham … when changing stables and taking the road-trip from Victoria to Cairns early in 2019.

The Harrovian spent a number of days in Brisbane fighting for his life at that time and it was the unconditional, concentrated care that helped bring The Harrovian through those dark times … but the horse also played his part.

“”He didn’t want to lose the fight against his sickness then … and, since then, he has continued to show that he has that fight in him on the track,” said Massingham.

“He doesn’t like to lay down … that’s for sure!”

The Harrovian’s wins include a Townsville Cup, a Cairns Cup and a Cairns Amateurs Cup but he is now well and truly making his presence felt in city and, with his fighting win in his last start, he showed in no uncertain terms that he certainly deserves to be plying his trade in the ‘big smoke’.

The Harrovian runs in race 6 at Doomben on Saturday where he is asked to give 0.5kg to 5kg to the seven opponents currently left standing at the time of writing.

Win, lose or draw … The Harrovian, given his fighting character and his notable achievements to date, is expected to have a large support base willing him on at Doomben.

The scenes after his last victory not only represented pure joy on the part of his connections but also showed their absolute love for the horse … scenes which painted a picture of what racing is really all about.

Few would begrudge those connections the result if we were to witness similar scenes again on Saturday.

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