The form coming out of this year’s Cox Plate has boosted the chances of Godolphin’s flag bearer Hartnell in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday.
Hartnell didn’t run in this year’s Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley on October 28 but did run second to runner up Humidor in the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16.
The Darren Weir trained Humidor continued his good Spring Carnival form and ran to within a long neck of Winx in the Cox Plate.
“He’s been racing a bit like a handicapper at his last couple of starts and the form around him is very strong,” trainer James Cummings said.
“The form from the Makybe Diva Stakes and the Underwood Stakes and Caulfield Stakes in which he’s run well has been the best of the spring.
“Humidor showed that with his run behind Winx in the Cox Plate that it’s as good a form reference as you’ll find.
“So there’s a lot to like about how Hartnell has been coming through.”
Hartnell went on to run second to Bonneval in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 1 before his worst result of the Spring when ninth behind Gailo Chop in the Group 1 $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on October 14.
Hartnell has run in the last two Melbourne Cups after running in the Cox Plate for a fifteenth in 2015 following by a third last year to Almandin but Cummings is happy that the seven year old is coming off a longer break out of the Ladbrokes Classic this year.
“He only had a 12-day break between those runs after racing in the Cox Plate. This time he’s got a nice gap between runs which I think will do him a lot of good,” Cummings said.
Cummings is happy with the way Hartnell has progressed since the decision was made to run him the Melbourne Cup and Damian Lane is booked to ride him in the ‘The Race That Stops A Nation’ after getting a feel of the gelding in a gallop earlier in the week.
“I was delighted with him, Damian thought he felt great, he’s nice and bright and alert,” Cummings said.
“We are going to the Cup with a horse who puts himself into his races, whose form is sound and who can run 3,200 metres.”
Hartnell has been allocated the top weight of 57.5kg for the Melbourne Cup and is currently rated as a $26 chance with Ladbrokes.com.au.
Last year‘s winner Almandin sits at the top of the market order at $6.50 ahead of English stayer Marmelo at $8 and Humidor at $9.
Early betting for the 2017 Melbourne Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6.50 Almandin, $8 Marmelo, $9 Humidor, $11 Johannes Vermeer, Red Cardinal, Wall Of Fire, $15 Rekindling, $17 Thomas Hobson, Max Dynamite, $21, Big Duke, Tiberian, $26 Hartnell, Amelie’s Star, Nakeeta, Boom Time, $34 Single Gaze, Bondi Beach, Ventura Storm, $41 Harlem, Who Shot Thebarman, US Army Ranger, $51 Jon Snow, Wicklow Brave, $61 or better the rest.