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Fall leaves Harbinger's career hanging in balance

Racing on the track was this weekend overshadowed by the news the world's highest-rated horse, Harbinger, suffered a potentially career-ending injury.

For many, the four-year-old's spellbinding King George success had been the highlight of the season and potential trips to York for the Juddmonte International, and longer term to Paris for the Arc, had racing enthusiasts licking their lips.

Unfortunately for connections, and in many ways the sport as a whole, those dreams have now gone up in smoke after the colt fractured his near-fore cannon bone in a routine gallop in Newmarket on Saturday morning.

Although subsequent surgery has been a success, his racing career remains in the balance.

John Warren, director of Harbinger's owners, Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, said: "The horse is very comfortable and the cast that was put on his leg to help him get up after surgery has been taken off.

"He's eating up well and has a very good demeanour about him, so it is a very good report about his well-being, which is a great relief.

"We plan to have a discussion with all the shareholders in the next 24 hours and then a decision about his future will be made tomorrow."

The Strong Suit bubble was burst in the Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh on Sunday as Aidan O'Brien's Zoffany struck Group One gold.


The former was sent off at 4-9 to supplement his Coventry Stakes success but could only finish third as Zoffany swooped late to give O'Brien his 11th win from the last 13 runnings of the race. O'Brien said: "The plan was to get him relaxed and Johnny (Murtagh) was very cool on him and gave him a great ride.

"We'll take it one step at a time but the National Stakes (Curragh, September 11) looks a likely option."

Richard Hannon Jr said of vanquished favourite Strong Suit: "We'll bring him home and get him scoped but we're not making any excuses."

O'Brien and jockey Johnny Murtagh also took the Keeneland Royal Whip Stakes as 1-12 favourite and Coronation Cup winner Fame And Glory produced a workmanlike display.

"It's good to get him back on a good start again as we gave him a mid-season break," said the Ballydoyle handler.

"His next run could be in the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown or the Arc trial at Longchamp.

"After that we'll have a look at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe."

Laughing Lashes landed the Group Two Keeneland Debutante Stakes for Jessica Harrington.

There was British Group One success in France as Dandy Nicholls' Regal Parade landed the Prix Maurice De Gheest at Deauville.

Winning jockey Adrian Nicholls, the trainer's son, said: "I'm not sure if there's anything for him beforehand but he'll definitely go back to Haydock for the Sprint Cup (September 4) which he won last year."