‘The Big H’ … The Harrovian … is steady on the third line of betting for Saturday’s $1.5 million Stradbroke Handicap and there wouldn’t be a more popular winner with the Queensland crowd if the son of Fastnet Rock was to give the training partnership of Toby and Trent Edmonds back-to-back wins in the Stradbroke after their success in the same racing silks with Tyzone last year.
The Harrovian quickly became something of a cult hero when he embarked on an eleven run winning streak, not only because of the results he achieved but because of his fighting, never say die qualities which livened up his race finishes bringing an exciting edge to proceedings which racegoers embraced. Five wins in that outstanding winning sequence came by 0.20 lengths or less.
While there no Stradbroke where a win is an easy task, anyone who saw The Harrovian’s effort in the Group 1 Doomben 10 000, where he gave The Galaxy winner Eduardo and eight length start turning into the straight before chasing hard to finish just 0.60 length back in third place, will understand why bookmakers are being very careful with their handling of The Harrovian.
“His preparation has gone really well,” confirmed co-trainer Toby Edmonds.
“It was a great run in the Doomben 10 000 and he has been trouble-free since then … in fact it has been a trouble-free preparation really.
“It is a month between runs, but we feel that he needs to be a little bit fresher than he would be going too many races into these runs … especially staying at 1400m.”
Jockey Brad Stewart, who has guided The Harrovian in all of his last seven starts, was never going to be able to make the weight (53kg) so Glen Boss takes over the reins for the first time on Saturday.
“The horse does race super for Brad. He rides The Harrovian well and he does have an affinity with the horse … but, with the weight that was allocated, we had no option but to find another jockey,” continued Edmonds.
“It would have been nice if Brad could have ridden him, but it is what it is.
“You certainly can’t complain about having Glen Boss on and we are delighted to have him on board.
“The long Eagle Farm straight should suit us in the running although, while he has won there twice they weren’t necessarily his best wins. He had to fight hard for those victories.
“Those times he won there he was ridden up on the speed a bit and, I think, ridden a bit quieter, you will see a very good finish.”
The Harrovian will have his fan club at the track on Saturday.
That, not least, will be comprised of his former trainer, the Cairns based Stephen Massingham (who originally set The Harrovian on his way and took him a long way down the glory path before handing the horse over to the Edmonds team … and who is still very much part of the ownership group) and another part-owner Tom Hedley, whose colours will be carried by The Harrovian.
They will lead an easy to spot, orange coloured delegation from far-north which will brighten up the grandstand on an already sparkling day.
For a horse that nearly died from road-sickness on a relocation trip from Victoria to Cairns some two-and-half years ago … this has been some journey!