Whitsbury Manor's Ed Harper hails 'game changing' Phoenix result for Showcasing
Advertise became his sire's first Group 1-winning son
Ed Harper has described the victory of Showcasing's son Advertise in Sunday's Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes as "game changing" for Whitsbury Manor Stud's flagship stallion.
Advertise joins Quiet Reflection as a Group 1 winner for Showcasing, who stands at the Harper family’s Hampshire stud, but as a first Group 1-winning son, successful in a stallion-making race whose previous winners include Danehill Dancer, Johannesburg, Holy Roman Emperor, Mastercraftsman and Zoffany, he moves Showcasing into a different league.
"A couple of his sons have hit the crossbar in Group 1 races before now, Tasleet and Dice Roll, so we knew he could get a Group 1 colt but to have Advertise go and win this race is fantastic," said a delighted Harper.
"What was particularly exciting about the win is that even though he didn’t win by very much, it looked as if the trip suited him and that he would get further.
"The offspring of the better quality mares who have visited Showcasing are coming through and that opens things up for him. He now has a top-class two-year-old colt who looks like he will be as good over seven furlongs and go on to be a good miler at three."
Trainer Martyn Meade had not been shy about advertising his colt's credentials and Harper paid tribute to Advertise's connections – Meade, owner Phoenix Thoroughbreds and agent Dermot Farrington who purchased the colt – for taking on the challenges, both logistical and equine, involved in Sunday's victory. He also emphasised how vital it is for stallions that their progeny find their way to the people willing to give them every opportunity to succeed.
"It was very brave of connections, and there are so many elements to making stallions – getting your horse's good stock into the hands of good people who manage these horses cleverly and put them into good races is very important. They even organised a private plane to fly Advertise over to Dublin this morning, nothing was left to chance."
Neither is anything left to chance by the Harper family and the team at Whitsbury Manor Stud, which was established in 1948.
"Somebody said to my father the other day that we were lucky that Showcasing had become an overnight success. My father laughed and replied that we were lucky but it had taken 50 years to become an overnight success! I was in the fortunate position that I inherited a situation where Showcasing was starting to take off when I took over the reins. His success is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people, which allows me to go out and meet clients, advertise and market our stallions,” Harper explained.
In the immediate aftermath of Advertise’s triumph over So Perfect and The Irish Rover at the Curragh, a step up to seven furlongs for the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October was nominated as the next target for Advertise after a mid-season break. Harper agrees that it is the ideal next step for the son of Showcasing.
"I think the Dewhurst makes perfect sense for Advertise. They said they wouldn’t overrace him and I think he will have great opportunities as a three-year-old. He is a big horse, out of a Pivotal mare, which is where he gets his size I think, and he gets his attitude from Showcasing. He imparts that will to win and tenacity to his progeny, they put their all into their races."
Advertise was purchased by Dermot Farrington for £60,000 at the 2017 Goffs UK Premier Yearling Sale and Harper is excited about the two Showcasing colts Whitsbury Manor Stud is selling (lots 249 and 436), and the yearlings their clients are offering at the sale.
"We have two very smart Showcasing colts going to the Doncaster Premier Yearling Sale and I couldn’t be happier with them," he said.
"They are more typical Showcasing offspring than Advertise
in that they are compact, neat, fast types. I can’t wait to get to Doncaster and see meet our clients and see their yearlings, they have nice horses on paper and tell me they are very happy with them."
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