The future’s orange

Robin Heffer, centre, with jockey Richard Hughes, right, and Harbour Watch. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112626-9448)
Robin Heffer, centre, with jockey Richard Hughes, right, and Harbour Watch. Picture: Malcolm Wells (112626-9448)
The sun ought to shine for Fontwell's Thursday afternoon racing

Irish raiders among the Fontwell fields

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Robin Heffer will have left Goodwood on Wednesday evening with his head bowed in disappointment.

Canford Cliffs, the apple of his eye, had just surrendered his Sussex Stakes crown to superstar colt Frankel as the Duel on the Downs failed to live up to its billing.

But last night, a mere 48 hours later, the popular owner would have been dancing out of the picturesque West Sussex racecourse.

He had just witnessed the emergence of a new star. One who could yet rule them all.

Heffer was buzzing after the eye-catching triumph of two-year-old Harbour Watch in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes.

Trainer Richard Hannon quickly declared him the ‘new boy on the block’ and delighted jockey Richard Hughes drew comparisons with stable star Canford Cliffs. Goodwood fans, meanwhile, were under no illusions of what they had witnessed.

They had been given a glimpse of the future. And it had come and gone in an orange flash.

Harbour Watch, who arrived at Goodwood on the back of victories at Salisbury and Newmarket, completed a hat-trick with a two-and-a-half length success over Bannock.

Sent off the even-money favourite, the two-year-old son of Acclamation displayed a blistering turn of foot to get himself out of trouble in the final furlong.

He put the race to bed so emphatically bookmakers quickly installed him as the ante-post favourite for next season’s 2,000 Guineas, with Stan James going as short as 6/1.

And while Hannon & Co will keep the starlet to the shorter distances for the remainder of his juvenile campaign, they know they have a classy talent on their hands.

‘This is a very good horse,’ said Hannon, who was celebrating his fifth victory of the festival.

‘He worked last week with Casual Glimpse (winner of the Tatler Stakes) and went right past him.

‘He is a big, strong horse and there is no reason why he won’t get a mile next year.’

Hughes, who was carried out into the middle of the course by rival Bogart, added: ‘I made a mistake by going outside that horse.

‘In the end I had to quicken to get past him but, when I finally got by, Harbour Watch changed gear and he went again. It was a very good performance.

‘He has a lot of class and has come on an awful lot. We think he is very, very good.

‘I don’t like comparing horses – I prefer them to prove it on the track – but Canford Cliffs was the only other two-year-old to work like this one did the other morning.’

Harbour Watch. Make a note of that name.