05/05/2010 12:00AM

Harbinger heads cast at Chester


Harbinger can take another step forward at Chester on Friday when he goes in the $113,000 Ormonde Stakes, a 1 5/8-mile, 89-yard Group 3 contest named for the horse widely regarded as the 19th Century's best. A 4-year-old son of the red-hot stallion Dansili, Harbinger is the latest middle-distance prospect trained by Michael Stoute.

His victory in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 3 Gordon Stakes made him the favorite for the classic St. Leger Stakes last fall, but two subsequent losses put an end to his 3-year-old campaign. On April 17, however, he returned with a bang, defeating 14 rivals in Newbury's 1o1/2-mile, Group 3 John Porter Stakes by three lengths. Jockey Ryan Moore will guide Harbinger around Chester's tight turns.

Aidan O'Brien will send out Age of Aquarius, who has been idle since finishing second to Cavalryman in the 1 1/2-mile, Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris on July 14.

Stoute will also saddle the favorite in the Group 3, $106,000 Dee Stakes, a 1 1/4-mile, 75-yard prep for the Epsom Derby. Desert Myth, a full brother to Arlington Classic winner Pleasant Strike, won his maiden at first asking going 1 1/4 miles at Newmarket on April 14. He will be tested by Azmeel, runner-up in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 3 Sandown Classic Trial, and Dancing David, runner-up in the one-mile, Group 3 Craven Stakes.

* American interest in British sprint races continues. On Wednesday, Newmarket Racecourse announced that Kinsale King, Leaving New York, and West Ocean, had been nominated to the $600,000, Group 1 July Cup, a six-furlong dash scheduled for July 9. All three are also nominated to Group 1 sprints at Royal Ascot the previous month.

If any of them turn up at Newmarket, they could run into the Al Quoz Sprint winner, Joy and Fun; 2008 European sprint champ Marchand d'Or, who has been switched from Freddie Head to Mikel Delzangles; and Overdose, the Hungarian sensation who is being aimed for a return to the races in a five-furlong listed race at Haydock Park on May 29.