Sydney trainer John Sargent is renowned as a master trainer of staying types, and the Kiwi expat unveiled a live VRC Oaks chance when Harlow Mist scored a strong victory in the Kennedy Oaks Preview (1800m) at Flemington on Sunday.
Given a perfect ride by Mick Dee, Harlow Mist sat just behind the speed before the daughter of Contributer was presented soon after straightening and she was strong through the line, defeating Konasana and Everlasting Kiss.
The three-year-old filly has stepped through the grades nicely and is now undefeated in three starts, with the Flemington triumph following victories at Goulburn and Scone.
“It was a big jump up, she has just been winning in the country but she has got a decent-sized heart in her and she showed that today,” Sargent said.
“It was a fork-in-the-road for her today as to whether we give her a break and look at the autumn or carry on with it. After that performance we will carry on.
“She is bred to take it and she has finished off her last couple of races strongly. It was just whether she was up to this company, and she should keep improving because she is that type of filly.”
Sargent is now eyeing the Gr.2 Wakeful Stakes (2000m) and the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) during Melbourne Cup week with the progressive stayer.
“She is obviously going to get the trip (of the Oaks), so she will go out for a break now and then have a run before she comes down to Melbourne and then probably run in the Wakeful and Oaks,” Sargent said.
“I saw her in New Zealand at the sales. She is from a very good staying family there and she is by Contributer who was a very good horse. Onwards and upwards with her now.
“She probably has as much class as a So Dazzling who won this race last year. She hasn’t got as much brilliance as a Kirramosa or a Luvaluva but she is a very determined type that once she gets out over further will be even harder to beat.”
Harlow Mist is a graduate of Wentwood Grange, purchased for $85,000 by Tricolours Racing & Syndications, and incredibly is one of three undefeated now three-year-olds to come out of the Karaka 2022 draft of the noted Cambridge nursery.
Out of the stakes-placed mare Sila Jasak, Harlow Mist’s granddam is the champion galloper Grand Archway, who won both the Gr.1 VRC Oaks (2500m) and the Gr.1 Australian Oaks (2400m) among her four elite-level victories.
“She is one of three three-year-olds to come out of our Karaka draft in 2022 heading for Group races in Pushy, Quintessa and now Harlow Mist,” Wentwood Grange’s Sean Hawkins said.
“It’s quite amazing. All three of them have had three starts and all three are undefeated.
“Pushy is heading for the Dulcify (Listed, 1600m) and is on a Spring Champion Stakes (Gr.1, 2000m) path for Michael Freedman. Quintessa is already a Group Three winner and is being set for the New Zealand 1000 Guineas (Gr.1, 1600m) and now this filly looks a real Oaks filly.”
Sila Jasak is also the dam of the Tony Pike-trained four-year-old Preferential, a daughter of Preferment who won in good style at Matamata last week over ground.