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Jessica takes the Flat path

Jessica Harrington is renowned for her exploits in National Hunt quarters. Moscow Flyer was the flag-bearer for many years at Grade One level, but in the last decade she also enjoyed success at the top level with Bust Out, Macs Joy, Ulaan Baatar, Carrigeen Victor, Hide The Evidence and Cork All Star.

Harrington won some of jump racing's top races such as the Queen Mother Champion Chase, the Tingle Creek and the Arkle, all with Moscow Flyer at Cheltenham, as well as Cork All Star, who won the Champion Bumper there.

Could the Kildare trainer now be set to emerge onto one of the biggest stages in Flat racing by possibly winning the 2000 Guineas or the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket -- or maybe even both?

A date for the Guineas is yet to be confirmed but it's a long time until late April or early May, and it'll be an interesting winter for all concerned at the Moone training establishment.

Why so? Well, for those under a rock for the last month or so, Harrington has been taking the Flat by storm and, amongst her best seasonal tally on the level of 19 wins so far, Harrington has unleashed two above-average juveniles, Pathfork and Laughing Lashes.

Pathfork was the latest to make his mark as he won the Group Two Futurity Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday, pleasing the many that made him go off the 10/11 favourite on the day and also those who on Saturday morning, prior to his Curragh assignment, made him a major mover in the 2000 Guineas market according to William Hill.



tumble

Hill's Tony Kenny reported that even before Pathfork justified his support for the Futurity Stakes, that punters wanted to be on him for the opening Classic of 2011.

Kenny said: "Pathfork was a morning price of 33/1 with us for next year's 2000 Guineas but support all Saturday morning saw his odds tumble into 16/1 -- a clear sign that punters expected a big run at the Curragh.

"Those that took the risk were rewarded with an impressive win over a top-class field and now hold valuable ante-post vouchers for the first colts' Classic of the year for which he is now 12/1 after his latest win," added the William Hills spokesman.

Pathfork was ultra impressive when winning his maiden at the same venue and then again when overcoming Glor Na Mara on Saturday also at HQ. We will see him again this season, although he is not among the entries for the Group One National Stakes.

"What can I say? I am absolutely delighted," said Harrington following Saturday's success. "The owners Bonnie and Tommy Hamilton were over from Lexington too so it's great but certainly more pressure for me!

"He jumped out and got a great position and Fran said he was always cruising. You see him there afterwards he's such a laid back horse, anyone would lead him up, you could do anything with him, he has an amazing temperament."

He might need a solid temperament too as later on in the season he may face a daunting trip for a two-year-old as America could beckon for the Breeders' Cup.

When asked when we would see the colt again this season, Harrington revealed: "There will be many conferences before we make any decisions about where to next, but he is in the Dewhurst Stakes and the Beresford Stakes and the step up in trip (Beresford Stakes over 1m) back here could suit. I know the owners are keen to go to the Breeders' Cup as they are from there."

Harrington's roots went unnoticed by few as Jim Bolger had a quiet word, seemingly echoing the sentiments of Aidan O'Brien, who came over and said: "Will you stick to training jumpers please!" John Magnier said something similar.

Of course, the same contingent of flat connections may have to settle for minor honours behind Harrington again on Sunday back at the Curragh as Laughing Lashes is going to be well fancied to win the Group One Moyglare Stud Stakes.

The filly carries the colours of the McElroy syndicate, which includes jump jockey Ruby Walsh and his wife Gillian, Punchestown's general manager Dick O'Sullivan and racing manager Richie Galway and his wife Emma, as well as HRI's Tamso Doyle and her husband David Cox.

She caused a slight upset earlier this month when winning the Debutante Stakes having been second on two previous starts this season, but is expected to be supplemented tomorrow morning for Sunday's Group One at the Curragh.

At the moment, Laughing Lashes is a best price 25/1 chance for the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket as Richard Hannon's three-time winner Memory heads the market.

There is no doubt Laughing Lashes warrants her supplementary fee, she quite possibly could win it and there is no sign of this snowballing season reaching a climax just yet.

While most jump trainers are getting ready to take their winter and spring stars in to be readied, Jessica Harrington still has some very important business to attend to.

The question is, next May when the jump season is wrapped up for another year, will Harrington be celebrating at the home of Flat racing? Don't back against it.