Trainer David Harrison’s top record with two-year-olds continued at Ascot on Saturday when he created a new piece of history for himself, preparing the first four placegetters from only four runners in the Magic Millions Plate (1000m).
The longest priced runner of the quartet – Sunny Honey ($18) – defeated luckless filly Lucky Sue ($5) by a head, with stablemates Snippenova ($3.90) and Vonsnip ($8.50) finishing a further half-length and length away respectively.
Asked if he could recall a similar feat having been done previously in a metropolitan Saturday race in WA, Harrison says he thinks it could be a first.
“Nah, that was a bit of a surprise,” he told TABradio’s The Sports Daily.
“It was good.
“I don’t know if it ever has happened, I’m not sure.
“Obviously Chris Waller would’ve done it over there because he has seven or eight horses in races, but I’m not sure with just four runners.”
Ridden by Paul Harvey, Sunny Honey had to win the race both on and off the track after the rider of the second-placed horse, Natasha Faithfull, lodged a protest due to alleged interference over the final 150 metres.
Harrison was in the unique position of been conflicted due to being the trainer of both horses and opted not to comment during the protest, which was ultimately dismissed and allowed Sunny Honey to remain the victor.
“I was pretty casual,” Harrison said.
“I just said to the stewards, ‘you blokes can work it out, I won’t say a word and you can work it out with the jockeys and the other part-owner that was in the room’.
“I just stayed out of it.”
Asked how his four two-year-olds pulled up, Harrison says he’s pleased with how they came through their runs but only one is likely to continue with their current campaign.
“Pretty good,” he said.
“Most of them will probably have a little bit of a break.
“Even though they’re not shin-sore, I’ll probably give them a little bit of time off because I don’t like giving them too many runs as two-year-olds.
“Snippenova will probably head on and hopefully go towards the Magic Millions.”
Sunny Honey’s winning debut was a pleasant surprise for Harrison and connections after being beaten three-and-a-half lengths when fourth to unraced stablemate Devine Belief in a 930m Lark Hill trial on December 31.
The trainer expected the Patronize colt to flourish as a late-season two-year-old and early-season three-year-old, while Lucky Street filly Lucky Sue hasn’t had much go her way in her two starts to date.
“He really came on well from the trial,” Harrison said.
“It’s really hard to know how much they improve from one trial and one gallop to the next.
“You’re going in a little bit blind, but it looked like he improved about six or seven lengths from his trial, so it was really pleasing.
“(Lucky Sue) has been very unlucky.
“I think the last two she probably should’ve won but that’s part and parcel of the game.
“The other little filly, Vonsnip, has run three fourths so there’s not much prizemoney there but she was a really good run.”
Last week on The Sports Daily, Harrison labelled Devine Belief his best two-year-old but said the filly had to be turned out for a break due to shin soreness.
Asked if the daughter of Playing God – who is unbeaten from two trials – will be able to contest any of the upcoming juvenile feature races, Harrison says he hopes to aim her at the $500,000 Group 2 Karrakatta Plate in April.
“I’m not really sure,” he said.
“She’s only a lightly-framed filly so I reckon I might be able to get her through.
“Not for the Magic Millions but I may be able to give her a month off and head towards the Karrakatta hopefully.
“She’s in the paddock now and she didn’t go really badly shin-sore, it was only marginally so I may have turned her out just in time so hopefully we can get her back.
“I think the future’s pretty bright for her.”
Harrison has already had 14 individual two-year-olds either race or trial so far this season and is looking forward to Smart Missile colt, Travel Warning, make his race debut at Ascot on Saturday January 22.
Widely regarded as one of the state’s most astute judges and purchasers at yearling sales, he says he tries to follow the same philosophy each year.
“I go through the catalogue and I try to wipe out about 10 or 20 per cent of them,” Harrison said.
“Just by the catalogue, because I don’t want to try and buy a freak.
“I want to try and buy ones that are out of winning families.
“Then I go and have a look at them and probably see them about four times or something before I put my hand up.
“I go back and check them and double check them and just slowly cull them out that way.”