Lloyd Williams-owned Hartani is set to make his Australian racing debut in the Group 3 Eclipse Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield this weekend.
Hartani was purchased by William’s Macedon Lodge team at the end of 2012, around the same time that he purchased Melbourne Cup runners Sea Moon and Masked Marvel as well as Bendigo Cup runner-up Massiyn, but has taken a while to acclimatize to Australian racing conditions.
The Shirocco entire was included in the nominations for both the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) but Williams has waited until the end of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival to give the imported stayer his first taste of Australian racing.
Hartani does not have the European credentials of Sea Moon and Masked Marvel but recorded three wins from six starts and competed at Group 1 level when he was under the care of trainer John Oxx in Ireland.
The stayer made his racing debut when finishing a promising fifth behind stablemate Aklan in the Irish Stallion Farms European Breeders Fund Maiden at Curragh and broke through for his maiden race win when ridden by leading jockey Johnny Murtagh in a maiden at Tipperary.
He was stepped up to Group level for the first time in the Group 3 Curragh Cup last July and won by an impressive five and a half lengths and was unlucky to have his winning streak ended by Ursa Major in the Group 2 Irish St Leger Trial Stakes a month later.
Hartani was well backed in the lead-up to the 2012 edition of the Group 1 Irish St Leger but failed to fire and finished eight behind Royal Diamond; with future stablemate Massiyn as well as 2013 Melbourne Cup runners Brown Panther and Simenon also taking part in the race.
The five-year-old has not been seen at the races since his Irish St Leger failure but took part in exhibition gallops, along with a number of his high-profile stablemates, at Flemington and Moonee Valley before the start of the 2013 Spring Racing Carnival.
Hartani will be Williams’ only runner at Caulfield on Saturday, when he takes his place in the Eclipse Stakes, as the leading owner does not have a runner in the Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) – the race named after his retired enigmatic galloper Zipping.