Trainer James Cummings wasn’t fazed after Hartnell drew barrier twelve in the 2017 Group 1 $6.25m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
Cummings can see Hartnell using his versatility and take up a spot in the first half of the twenty-four horse field in the run to the first turn out of the straight from that middle of the pack barrier.
“He has got tactical versatility, but of course he also doesn’t like to lead,” Cummings said.
“I think that that could work out well for our horse.”
“He has got Single Gaze who is drawn to our inside and she like to be positive and Humidor is right near us too.”
“That is good from our prospective that we will get our horse settled somewhere in between eighth and twelfth. We would be delighted with that.”
“The horse isn’t slow away and he can be right there.”
“He is one a few horses in this field that would be able to settle down in the first four or five in a seven furlong (1400m) weight for age and win.”
Damian Lane will be having has first race ride on Hartnell in the Melbourne Cup but the pair have got to know each other with several morning track work sessions together.
“Damian Lane will have a good think about it himself, he has had a feel on the horse and I would say he will just concentrate on getting him into a good rhythm,” Cummings said.
Hartnell hasn’t raced since running a disappointing ninth to Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 14 but Cummings can’t see that as being a problem heading into the two mile contest on Tuesday.
“The horse has shown the last month or month and a half in his racing and in particular in his training that he is really going like a two miler,” Cummings said.
“The horse has got the chance to arrive here fifth up which he hasn’t done in a Melbourne Cup before and he did win a two mile race as a listed race two years ago off a good few weeks break, he actually had six weeks going into it on that occasion.”
“Thinking about the horse, it suits him.”
“He has an amazing record to be running a creditable race as the top weight and we have a good feeling about him running well.”
“I am hoping that Hartnell will really grow a leg over the trip because that is what he is showing me in his training and racing.”
Hartnell is a two times Group 1 winner since he arrived in Australia from England with a win in the 2015 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill and in the 2016 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
The seven year old has also gone around in two Melbourne Cups for a fifteenth to Prince Of Penzance in 2015 and a gallant third last year behind Almandin and Heartbreak City.
Melbourne Cup betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has Hartnell marked as the good odds of $26 while last year’s winner Almandin heads up the market order at $$8 in a wide open betting race.