Promising filly poised for comeback win at Kensington track

Promising filly Harmony Rose begins a preparation aimed at the Group 1 ATC Australian Oaks in a lowly benchmark 72 race for fillies and mares, the TAB Handicap (1400m) at Randwick’s Kensington track on Wednesday.

But trainer Mark Newnham believes Harmony Rose has the ability to quickly rise through the grades and announce herself as a genuine contender for the fillies classic during the Sydney autumn carnival.

Newnham said Harmony Rose compares favourably with his former top-class filly Scarlet Dream, a runner-up to the outstanding Verry Elleegant in the 2019 ATC Australian Oaks.

“I think Harmony Rose is a good filly and we will give her the chance to go to the Oaks,’’ the trainer said.

Harmony Rose could emerge as an ATC Oaks contender this campaign. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“Harmony Rose has a similar profile to Scarlet Dream and we might follow the same program and take her to the Kembla Grange Classic next then to either the Vinery Stud Stakes or Adrian Knox Stakes.’’

In latest TAB Fixed Odds betting for the Kensington race, Harmony Rose is at $4.60 second favouritism behind Brookspire ($3.40).

Harmony Rose showed plenty of potential at her debut preparation start spring, winning her first two starts at the provincials then running a close second at Warwick Farm. She impressed in a recent Randwick barrier trial win and form jockey Josh Parr will ride the filly.

The Newnham-trained Marway has opened as $3.30 favourite for the Street Boss At Darley Handicap (1000m). Marway, a former top Rockhampton sprinter, made his debut for the Newnham stable and scored his ninth career win over the Warwick Farm 1000m course in fast time on Australia Day.

“Hopefully, Marway is a bit of a find for us,’’ Newnham said.

“He’s going really well and he does handle soft ground. It will be interesting to see how the track plays as you need to be out very wide late in the day. But if the track plays fair, from his good draw he is going to be hard to beat again.’’

Newnham’s other Kensington runner is Nearly Fine ($9.50) who is trying to break an exasperating run of minor placings in the Vinery Stud Handicap (1400m).

Mark Newnham has big plans for Harmony Rose. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

“He’s got a good name because he nearly wins all the time,’’ Newnham said. “But he’s trying hard, handles wet ground and is going to win one of these races.’’

Newnham spoke to The Daily Telegraph from the Randwick trials session on Tuesday where the trainer was pleased with a number of his potential autumn carnival contenders, most notably brilliant young sprinter, Splintex, a winner of his 1050m heat.

“Splintex is in really good shape and he is going towards the Challenge Stakes and then hopefully into The Galaxy with a lightweight,’’ he said.

Newnham had six of the 15 heat winners including Greysful Glamour and exciting juvenile Russian Standard.

Greysful Glamour, winner of the Villiers Stakes back in December, has qualified for a start in the Doncaster Mile and is likely to resume in the Guy Walter Stakes next week.

Classy filly Miravalle, who ran fourth in the Victoria Oaks last spring, impressed with Newnham with her good third behind Jen Rules in her trial while the trainer’s new stable recruit, promising Kiwi three-year-old The Irishman did well chasing home the brilliant Farnan.

Meantime, trainer Gary Portelli will instruct jockey Kathy O’Hara to try to “harness” Silver Thorn’s natural speed when the striking grey makes his debut in the Stud And Stable Staff Awards Plate (1100m) at Randwick’s Kensington meeting.

Silver Thorn, by boom sire Capitalist, has shown early brilliance in his trials but Portelli, a master trainer of juveniles, said the colt needed to learn to conserve and better use his energy.

“There is no doubt about his speed but we want to harness it because I thought he got lost a bit in front in his trial the other day,’’ Portelli said. “In all his trials so far, he has shown good speed but we want to give him the chance to ­finish off in his races.’’

Kathy O’Hara will ride the speedy Silver Thorn on Wednesday. Picture: Getty ImagesSource:Getty Images

Silver Thorn has drawn nicely in barrier two and Portelli is hopeful his emerging colt can settle just in behind the leaders and give himself every chance to be competitive.

Portelli expects an improved showing from topweight Picaro in the Hyland Race Colours ­Handicap (1800m).

Picaro has been his own worst enemy with slow getaways in each of his three starts this campaign, particularly his most recent effort when he failed to beat a rival to the line in a Randwick 2000m race.

“We have given him barrier education the last three Fridays and hopefully he will jump a lot better this time,’’ Portelli said. “I will be telling the stewards we are hoping to see him take up a more prominent position early.’’

Portelli also has Cathay in the TAB Handicap (1400m) but indicated she was not a certain starter.

Meanwhile, Portelli confirmed his stable’s smart sprinter Spaceboy was primed for the Benchmark 94 Handicap (1100m) at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday.

Spaceboy is usually a brilliant beginner but was slow to begin at Randwick last start and did well to finish second, beaten only a length by gifted filly Written Beauty.

“I’m not sure what happened at the start,’’ Portelli said. “But his run to finish a close second was very good under the circumstances.”

Originally published asRandwick preview: Oaks on radar for Harmony Rose

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