Tommy Berry has been booked to ride Hartnell in the 2015 Sydney Cup and the leading hoop is confident that the Godolphin import can deliver him a second straight win in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Hartnell was ridden by Godolphin retained hoop James Doyle when he made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing second in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and he was partnered by James McDonald when he scored impressive wins in both the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14 and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m), but McDonald is unable to make the weight of 52 kilograms required to partner the imported stayer in the Sydney Cup and trainer John O’Shea elected to offer the ride to Berry.
Berry told Racing Ahead this morning that he is very excited to partner Hartnell in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) and he is confident that the four-year-old can confirm his status as one of the most exciting horses in Australia with a second straight win at Group 1 level in the Sydney Cup.
“I have Hartnell coming up and he is in the Sydney Cup,” Berry said.
“The more I look through his overseas form – he is proven at 3200 metres, he is proven on wet tracks and he just has no minuses next to his name, they are all pluses.
“He is going to improve a lot for his BMW win a week ago.
“He is a very exciting horse and I think that he is one of the most exciting horses in Australia with his stablemate Contributer, who is going to the Queen Elizabeth.
“I am really looking forward to getting on his back.”
Hartnell is currently available at 2015 Sydney Cup odds of $2.60 with Ladbrokes and is a clear favourite from Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman ($4.80), Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($5), veteran stayer Red Cadeaux ($8), Hong Kong galloper Dominant ($15) and Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory.
Berry rode The Offer to a dominant victory in the 2014 edition of the Sydney Cup and if he is able to win the race on Hartnell this weekend he will become the first jockey to win the Sydney Cup on two different horses in back-to-back years since Grant Cooksley won on Just A Dancer in 1991 and My Eagle Eye in 1992.