The Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16 will be the next Spring Carnival assignment for last Saturday’s P.B. Lawrence Stakes winner Hartnell.
Hartnell displayed his superiority with a dominant first up win in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield and gave his new trainer James Cummings plenty of confidence heading deeper into the 2017 Spring Carnival.
“That was a very impressive, bold run,” Cummings said.
“It was a serious weight-for-age return that suggests he’s in for a strong campaign.”
Winning rider Craig Williams was also most impressed with the winning effort of Hartnell and expects the Godolphin flag bearer to take plenty of improvement out of the run.
“He was on the wrong leg for a fair way, but I didn’t try to fight him because he was going too well for the others,” Williams said.
“He’s an amazing, adaptable horse who was a pleasure to ride. There’s no doubt he’s very high-class horse who looks to have a great campaign ahead of him.”
Williams later revealed that he had avoided a catastrophe after he realised when he was behind the barriers on Hartnell that he was wearing a different lighter vest than he had weighed out in.
Williams then obtained some equipment from the farrier that was posted behind the barriers and placed them in his riding boots to ensure that Hartnell would carry his right allocated weight.
At a subsequent stewards’ inquiry Williams was $1000 was being overweight with the farrier tools making up more weight than was required and the premiership winning jockey was also fined $1000 for not riding in the same gear that he had weighed out in.
Hartnell will now head back to Flemington for the Makybe Diva Stakes with Williams is very keen to retain the mount.
“Absolutely. Flemington, a big flat track. It is a really good step up for him and he is the right horse for that race, that’s for sure,” Williams said.
“He has improvement to come. That is why he is the second highest rated horse behind Winx in Australia.”
Hartnell has shown his liking for the big open spaces of Flemington with a win in over Jameka in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) during last year’s Melbourne Spring Carnival followed two starts later with third behind Almandin and Heartbreak City in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m).
In between those two Flemington runs Hartnell was beaten eight lengths when second to Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 22.