Parade ring eye-catcher Harmony Rose targeting Vinery Stud Stakes success

Darby’s last-minute yearling purchase set to pay off with possible Group 1 victory at Rosehill

Leading Vinery Stud Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) contender Harmony Rose had not even come onto syndicator Darby Racing’s radar when she was being led around and moments away from going under the hammer at the 2019 Magic Millions National Yearling Sale.

By a non-commercial stallion in Glass Harmonium (Verglas), who covered just 30 mares the year Harmony Rose was conceived, the Mark Newnham-trained three-year-old is the pre-post favourite to take out the fillies Group 1 feature at Rosehill on Saturday.

“She was bought at the June Magics, which is a sale we target to buy value. We have an idea of trying to pick up three or four (yearlings) for under $30,000. We have a lot of clients who don’t want to spend a lot of money to get in horses and we’ve had a lot of success in that range as well,” Darby Racing’s Scott Darby recalled yesterday.

“We don’t look at every horse at the sales and we just happened to be at the parade ring when she was parading and she caught our eye. We were frantically running around trying to get x-rays done and the rest is history.

“My offsider, Mark Holland, and I were in awe of the way she was parading, the athleticism, everything about her and we thought she’d get over a bit of ground. We looked at the pedigree page and we were willing to forgive that because of the price we thought we might get her for.

“She looked better than the price tag, that’s for sure.”

She was knocked down to Darby Racing for just $25,000 from the Alexia Fraser Bloodstock draft and, since then, she has gone on to win three of her five starts and last time out she finished a gallant third in the Randwick Guineas (Gr 1, 1600m) behind Lion’s Roar (Contributer) and Mo’unga (Savabeel).

With the Vinery Stud Stakes meeting pushed back by seven days owing to the postponement of the Golden Slipper meeting, Newnham elected to give Harmony Rose a barrier trial at Randwick last Friday over 1200 metres.

“She is an exciting filly who has always shown us plenty of ability and I think she will really excel once she gets the longer trips, particularly back in fillies’ grade and she’s spot on for Saturday,” Darby said.

“In the words of Josh Parr, he said, ‘looking at the way she ran in her last start, she could really dominate the fillies’ side of things over those journeys’, so hopefully he is right.”

The Australian Oaks (Gr 1, 2400m) at Randwick in a fortnight’s time is a likely option for the lightly raced filly.

“Very early on Mark Newnham was pretty taken with her and I remember leading into her first run, there was an air of confidence, which surprised me, because I thought she might be better over further just looking at her,” he said.

“She won well at Kembla Grange (on October 24 last year) and Mark’s been pretty bullish about her from the word go.

“He was already talking about a Nakeeta Jane-style preparation and those sorts of horses that he’s had success with.”

Darby’s Group 1 chances at Rosehill won’t rest just with Harmony Rose, with promising European import Spirit Ridge (Nathaniel) wa