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Harbinger romps in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
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Trevor Jones

Harbinger Demolishes King George Field

Harbinger impressive in King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot.

Harbinger turned in a spectacular performance in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes Sponsored by Betfair (Eng-I) July 24, romping home by 11 lengths in course record time at Ascot.

It was a highly-anticipated renewal of the King George, as Investec Derby (Eng-I) winner Workforce was set to clash with Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) hero Cape Blanco. Also in the mix were the classy older horses Youmzain, who was looking for another elusive group I victory, the French group I-winning filly Daryakana, and the promising Harbinger, who entered the race on a three-race win streak. Rounding out the field was Confront, a stakes-winning gelding entered as a pacemaker by trainer Sir Michael Stoute.

As expected, Confront went straight to the lead, setting off on a strong gallop under jockey Richard Mullen. Cape Blanco and Workforce raced alongside each other in second and third, while Olivier Peslier settled Harbinger behind them. Both Daryakana and Youmzain tracked the leaders from the rear of the field.

The order remained unchanged until the field turned for home when Confront began to fade. Either Cape Blanco and Workforce appeared poised to take command, but it was Harbinger, who was full of run under Peslier, that blew by both Derby winners in a seemingly effortless move.

Harbinger drew off impressively in the final furlong, cruising under the wire well in front while under a hand ride. Cape Blanco stayed on for second while Youmzain got up for third, 3 1/4 lengths farther back. Workforce faded badly in the final furlong and finished fifth.

The final time for the 12 furlongs was 2:26.78, which beat the old course record by 3.42 seconds. The King George was contested over an Ascot course labeled good.

This made consecutive King George victories for Stoute, who captured the race last year with Conduit. Stoute said after the race that Harbinger more than likely would be pointed toward the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) in October.

The King George was the first group I victory for Harbinger, who now boasts a record of six wins from nine career starts. The 4-year-old colt is by Dansili out of Penang Pearl, by Bering. Harbinger was bred in England by Mrs. A.K.H. Ooi, and is owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing.