Flemington’s Danny O’Brien has put aside any Group 1 dreams with Prince Harada, the horse’s new trainer for now naming their biggest Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival ambition as winning a race – any race.
The former Tony Vasil-trained Haradasun stallion joined O’Brien’s care after failing to win a race in the autumn under Vasil and subsequently undergoing a gelding operation.
With Vasil they had eight starts for two victories, the latest of those in a two-year-olds’ handicap over 1200m at Moonee Valley in June last year.
That was their second up run and followed a two and a half length win on debut at Ballarat that stamped the nicely bred galloper as one to watch during their next campaign.
Things looked good for Prince Harada living up to their early potential too when they resumed in August that year.
They ran a first-up second behind Fast ‘N’ Rocking in the Group 3 H.D.F. McNeil Stakes (1200m) after missing the start and being blocked for a run.
From there they went into Group 1 company at Rosehill in their maiden Sydney run.
It was another luckless run however producing a fifth when beaten three and a half lengths by the Chris Waller-trained Zoustar in the Golden Rose Stakes.
Back in Melbourne next run things went south for Prince Harada when tested in the $1 million Group 1 BECK Caulfield Guineas (1600m).
There they could only manage to finish a well beaten sixth behind Long John in as a well-fancied 5-1 shot.
Vasil and connections didn’t give up on the horse however sending them for a spell before coming back in the autumn this year.
They were competitive when resuming at Caulfield on the first of February crossing under two lengths away fourth behind Bull Point in the Group 3 Manfred Stakes (1200m).
Up in distance at their next run they were closer second-up when runner-up to Hucklebuck in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington but still winless.
Their latest effort however was their most disappointing, Prince Harada running seventh behind last year’s Cox Plate winner Shamus Award in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m).
That performance showed O’Brien the horse wasn’t quite up to the class Vasil perhaps thought.
They had the chance to win in the Guineas but tired late and were swamped after sitting near the lead at the top of the straight that day.
O’Brien now has a no-fuss return scheduled with his new gelding starting with a Flemington jump-out next Friday.
“He’s just had a quiet build up, his first serious bit of action will be that jump out on Friday week,” O’Brien told TVN on Wednesday morning.
Engaged in a hit-out at Victoria’s premier track this Friday meanwhile is the Trent Busuttin-trained Randwick Guineas runner-up El Roca whose elevated temperature after arriving down under has forced them out of Saturday’s $120,000 Listed Regal Roller Stakes (1200m) at Caulfield.
As for a first-up option for Prince Harada O’Brien is still mapping things out but was reluctant to name any black-type assignment of note.
“Look, really we just want to win a race,”
“Obviously, he’s competed in some of the best three-year-old races, but he hasn’t been winning. We just want just start winning with him.”