Harbinger helps Australian sires Sharkbite & October Sky

Harbinger produced an epic performance in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot last Saturday and the win bolstered the prospects of Australian based sires Sharkbite (Eliza Park) and October Sky (Glen Avon).

Harbinger (4c Dansili — Penang Pearl by Bering) is trained by Sir Michael Stoute for Highclere Racing and is unbeaten in four starts this term.  Before demoralising the King George field by 11 lengths in track record time, he had won the G3 John Porter Stakes at Newbury, G3 Ormonde Stakes at Chester and G2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

“You can imagine how I felt when I saw the big screen with the others so far behind,” winning jockey Olivier Peslier said at Ascot.  “He was just flying and is a champion.”

Harbinger is now pre-post favourite for the Arc de Triomphe in October and can improve the record of previous King George winners like Conduit, Duke Of Marmalade, Montjeu, Daylami, Pentire who failed in France.

Racing Post UK rated the victory well above of any other performance in 2010.  Harbinger (135) is currently ahead of USA Metropolitan Hcp winner Quality Road (130), Epsom Derby winner Workforce (129), Queen Anne winner Paco Boy (128) and Coronation Cup winner Fame And Glory (127).

Australian sprinter Starspangledbanner rated 125 after his G1 double in the Golden Jubilee and July Cup.

Harbinger’s sire Dansili is destined to rank as a mainstay of the British breeding industry in the years to come.  He is a Judmonte Farms homebred and is a brother to the Danehill Group 1 winners Banks Hill, Intercontinental, Cacique and Champs Elysees.

Dansili did not score at the elite level but he did win a Group 2 and was placed in a half-dozen Group 1 events.  He couldn’t command a high fee when he retired to Banstead Manor and the majority of his quality mares were owned by Juddmonte’s Prince Khalid Abdullah.

His initial service fee was 8,000 pounds (AUD  20,190) but, 42 stakes winners later, he stands for 65,000 pounds (AUD  112,760).

Eliza Park sire Sharkbite is from the immediate family of Dansili and both are bred on the same cross.  Sharkbite is from the Juddmonte Farms bred mare Back Pass (Quest for Fame).  She hails from the family of Dansili’s dam Hasili.

Sharkbite’s sire Redoute’s Choice has emerged as the dominant sire son of Danehill and – significantly – as a sire of sires with his son Stratum siring the Golden Slipper winner Crystal Lily in his first crop and Not A Single Doubt and Snitzel also producing stakes horses early in their stud careers.

Sharkbite stands at Eliza Park for $5,500 (inc gst).  “Sharkbite has been very popular,” Eliza Park’s Mark Lindsay said.  “He is the most in-demand stallion at that end of the market in Victoria.”

Queensland farm Glen Avon Lodge will stand first-season sire October Sky at a $4,400 (inc gst) fee this year.  He is an Irish bred son of Danehill and, like Dansili, is from a Kahyasi mare.

October Sky was raced by Michael Tabor and was placed three times from four starts  in Ireland.  His dam Cumbres is an unraced half-sister to Tabor’s Group 1 racehorse and sire Montjeu.