Miaharris swoops to keep unbeaten record intact at Newbury

By Sports Desk August 18, 2023

Miaharris came from the clouds to maintain her unbeaten record in dramatic fashion with victory in the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury.

An impressive winner at Sandown on her debut, Owen Burrows stepped the daughter of Zoustar up in grade on just her second outing against other fillies with more experience.

It looked like being a step too far at halfway, however, as she was one of the first off the bridle and looked to be up against it.

It was Alice Haynes’ Majestic Beauty – the only other unbeaten runner in the field – who was at the head of affairs heading into the final furlong, and she still looked to have plenty left.

Henry Candy’s Tears Of A Clown then emerged as a real danger and the two began to pull clear, with Juniper Berries running on.

By now Miaharris (9-4 favourite) was beginning to hit top gear and while she still had two lengths to find on the leaders, once in the clear Oisin Murphy got her to lengthen and she picked up in the style of a smart filly, winning by a neck from Majestic Beauty.

Burrows said: “She’s done well to win from where she was at halfway. She put up a nice performance at Sandown, but we knew it was a bit of a punt stepping up straight to Listed class and inexperience looked like it was going to go against us halfway through the race.

“The encouraging thing was once she got some room she hit the line strong. She has got that touch of class and she is still a work in progress, but she’s probably a smart filly.

“The nice thing is she hit the line strong and relaxed early so it looks like now she is up in grade, she needs to be going up a furlong in trip as well.

“There’s the Dick Poole (Salisbury, September 7) and there is also the Firth of Clyde at Ayr (September 23) which is also six furlongs. Timing-wise the Dick Poole would be nice, but we will see how she is when we get back and through next week.

“It’s obviously encouraging heading into the autumn that she has handled that ground there today, it gives us plenty of options.”

Miaharris cost 210,000 guineas as a breeze-up buy in the spring and Burrows was delighted to reward the patience of owner Olly Harris who has allowed the Farncombe Down handler to take his time with the talented youngster and may now have a Group-class operator on his hands.

But Burrows did sound a note of warning around the potential pitfalls of affordability checks, with Harris one of a number of high-profile owners reportedly considering his future in the sport.

“It’s great for Olly who has been a good supporter of mine last year when we were beginning to take outside horses,” added Burrows.

“He’s backed me again this year and this filly wasn’t cheap at the sales, so fair play to him and I’m chuffed because we were a little bit quiet in the first part of the season for him but he’s been very patient and a great owner to have because he just lets me get on with it.

“It’s obviously a bit worrying what we read the other day. He’s someone who likes a bet on his horses and is being restricted and from my point of view he’s not going to buy any new ones. It’s a prime example of what these affordability checks could do.

“Olly is on holiday with his family at the moment, but he has a group of mates who don’t just like going to have a day at the races to have a bit of lunch, they like to have a bet as well. Some bets will be bigger than others, but that is part of the enjoyment for them and if part of that enjoyment is taken away what is the point of having any more horses.

“From my point of view, it’s a big worry because we have four for him at the moment and at the end of the year two of those will probably be going to the sales. The two two-year-olds will stay, but he’s not reinvesting and that’s the worry for all of us.

“I’m certainly not in the position to be losing owners like him and the game itself isn’t in the position to be losing people like him. That’s not just on the Flat because he spends really good money over jumps as well, so it won’t be just me with a few empty boxes, it will be other trainers as well.”

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