Cox Plate runner up Hartnell has been given the green light to take his place in the field for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on November 1.
Trainer John O’Shea confirmed today that Hartnell had pulled up well after chasing Winx home in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley last Saturday and will continue on with his Melbourne Cup campaign.
“He’s come through the run better than I expected and I am happy with where he is at,” O’Shea said.
“James (McDonald) looked after him beautifully in the run, not punishing him late and letting him stride to the line.
“We paid up today for second acceptances and hope to have a good week with him in the lead up to the Cup.
“If at any stage we are not happy with him we will have no hesitation in pulling him out.
“But this stage everything is on track and we’re excited to have a strong chance in Australia’s great race.”
Hartnell was one of thirty-two second acceptors for the Melbourne Cup today and could be one of seven Godolphin owned runners to carry the famous royal blue colours in the ‘Race That Stops A Nation’.
Hartnell along with his stablemate Tally were joined by the Charlie Appleby trained Scottish, Qewy and Oceanographer and Saeed bin Suroor’s Secret Number and Beautiful Romance in the Melbourne Cup second acceptor’s list.
The six year old English import along with the other eight Cox Plate runners were clearly outclassed by the Chris Waller trained Winx who raced away under the guidance of Hugh Bowman to a record breaking eight lengths win in the ‘Weight For Age Championship Of Australasia’.
Hartnell will be having his second tilt at trying to win the Melbourne Cup after being beaten just under six lengths when fifteenth to Prince Of Penzance in 2015 but goes into this year’s version with superior form.
Before last Saturday’s crushing defeat by arguably the world’s best racehorse, Hartnell had linked together three very impressive victories with a total winning margin of almost seventeen lengths.
Hartnell’s winning run kicked off in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 3 with a seven and three quarter lengths trouncing of Grand Marshal followed by a five and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 17.
O’Shea then headed to Melbourne with Hartnell who continued on his winning way by defeating the subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Jameka by three and a quarter lengths.
Hartnell and Jameka are set to clash again on the first Tuesday in November and are at the top of the Melbourne Cup market order with Ladbrokes.com.au with Hartnell the top pick at $4.60 ahead of the Caulfield Cup winner at $7.
On the third line of betting at $10 is the Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer Bondi Beach who finished sixteenth in last year’s Melbourne Cup while Heartbreak City who has performed well on the flat and over the jumps in Ireland and England is next in the market order at $11.
Early Melbourne Cup market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.60 Hartnell, $7 Jameka, $10 Bondi Beach, $11 Heartbreak City $13 Almandin, , $15 Scottish, $17 Big Orange, Exospheric, Wicklow Brave, $19 Almoonqith, $21 Curren Mirotic, $26 Grand Marshall, Who Shot Thebarman, $31 Qewy, Grey Lion, Our Ivanhowe, Real Love, Secret Number, $41 Oceanographer, Beautiful Romance, Gallante, Tally, $51 Assign, $61 Excess Knowledge, Howard Be Thy Name, De Little Engine, $81 Pentathlon, Sir John Hawkwood, Tom Melbourne, $201 Vengeur Masque, $301 Rose Of Virginia, The Bandit.