By Glenn Davis
Country champion The Harrovian will be on trial for a Brisbane winter campaign when the gelding makes his long-awaited comeback at Cannon Park in Cairns on Thursday.
The Harrovian created history by becoming the first horse to win the Northern Crown Series bonus for stayers last year, collecting a massive $287,000 in prizemoney with his wins in the Townsville and Cairns Cups last spring.
The Harrovian and another country star Windmill Lane will clash for the first time in the Open Handicap (1250m).
The Harrovian, a former Victorian, has won seven of his nine starts in north Queensland taking his record to 10 wins in 23 starts and will be having his first outing since winning the Cairns Amateur Cup (2100m) in September.
The six-year-old was allotted a massive 65.5kgs and will be ridden by former heavyweight Brisbane jockey Aidan Holt who began a riding comeback in north Queensland last month.
The Harrovian was previously trained by Jim Conlan in Victoria and had won three of his 14 starts, before Cairns Jockeys Club president Tom Hedley paid $20,000 for the gelding.
Trainer Stephen Massingham has The Harrovian ticking along well and expects him to be competitive first-up.
“He hasn’t been in work that long but he did spend seven weeks on a walking machine at his owner’s farm at Tolga,” Massingham said.
“He’s coming along well but he’s got a good horses’ weight.
“He’s not wound up and is only 80 per cent fit but if he’s within a couple of lengths of them on the home turn they’ll know he’s in the race.”
Massingham fears The Harrovian will soon be weighted out of North Queensland racing.
“If he wins, he’ll get too much weight up here so I’m looking to send him down to Brisbane,” Massingham said.
“Obviously, he’ll be aimed for the winter races but I haven’t sorted out a trainer to send him to yet.
“If he doesn’t win there’s another race that suits him here in two weeks.”
Massingham has named Windmill Lane and rising star Love Is Blind who has won six of his nine starts as the main dangers.
Meanwhile Windmill Lad is lining up for his sixth start this campaign and is chasing a hat-trick of wins after his last start win over 1250 metres at Cannon Park on April 2.
Eight-year-old Windmill Lane has won 17 of his 49 starts and also has a mammoth task after receiving 62.5kgs.
Racing Queensland webnews - April 15