Current race favourite Hartnell will carry topweight in this season’s Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21st.
2017 Caulfield Cup weights were confirmed and released on Tuesday morning and Hartnell has been charged with lugging a race-high 58kgs in the Spring Carnival feature.
Hartnell has been a strong and consistent performer throughout his entire racing career so far, but has undoubtedly found his best form throughout the last twelve months.
Former trainer John O’Shea elected to set the Authorized gelding for the Ladbrokes Cox Plate rather than the Caulfield Cup in 2016 and while he finished second behind Winx in the race, managed to post consecutive wins in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) during his preparation.
Having returned to the paddock after running third in the Melbourne Cup (3200m), Hartnell was unable to return to winning form during the recent Autumn Carnival, but did finished second in both the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) most notably.
Hartnell resumed for an impressive win in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19th and will be rock-hard fit when he takes his place in the 2017 Caulfield Cup field.
2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin will potentially use the Caulfield Cup as a final point of call ahead of the Race that Stops a Nation and will carry 56.5kgs, following the confirmation of 2017 Caulfield Cup weights.
The Monsun gelding was outstanding during his 2016 Spring Carnival campaign; winning both the Listed Harry White Classic (2400m) and Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) leading into his Melbourne Cup triumph.
Having resumed for second in the MSC Signs Handicap (2040m) at The Valley on August 26th, Almandin is primed for another big Cups campaign.
Several outstanding internationals remain in contention for the Melbourne Spring Carnival’s headline races, including Admire Deus (56kgs), Francis Of Assisi (54kgs) and Bonneval (53.5kgs).
Early favourite for this year’s Melbourne Cup, Admire Deus will be transferred to the care of Darren Weir upon arriving in Australia and is likely to have his first run in the Caulfield Cup.
The Admire Don entire has been a strong and consistent performer through much of his racing career to date and finished third in the Group 2 Nikkei Sho (2500m) first-up this year, before running on well for fourth in the famed Group 1 Tenno Sho (3200m) on April 30th.
British Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby enjoyed an outstanding 2016 Spring Carnival campaign and Francis Of Assisi was one of his standouts.
The Danehill Dancer gelding posted a dominant three-length win in the Group 3 Bendigo Cup (2400m) in his first Australian appearance, before repeating that effort and result in the Group 3 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m), this time by an incredible ten lengths.
Bonneval is yet to taste anything but success in Australia and the mare should prove extremely difficult to beat under the conditions of the Caulfield Cup, particularly with only 53.5kgs in tow.
The Makfi mare was a standout through her three-year-old season and won the Group 1 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) on March 18th, before crossing the ditch to take out the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) with complete ease.
Having resumed for a comfortable win in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) last weekend, Bonneval has the option to run in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate, but remains on a path towards the Caulfield Cup.
Hartnell is currently available at early 2017 Caulfield Cup odds of $6.50 at Ladbrokes.com.au.