Godolphin’s Australian flagbearer Hartnell will get his chance for a 2017 Spring Carnival Group 1 win when he steps out in the $1m Ladbrokes Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hartnell has been relegated to the runner’s up stall at his last two starts behind Humidor in the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16 and behind Bonneval in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 1.
And while trainer James Cummings would have preferred to be talking to jockey Kerrin McEvoy in the winner’s stall, he wasn’t disappointed with the effort of the seven year old.
“We’ve been a bit disappointed that he couldn’t win at his last two, but we haven’t been disappointed with his effort,” Cummings said.
“At each of his past two runs there have been things that didn’t go his way and he still ran very well to finish second and on Saturday he’s getting out to 10 furlongs for the first time this prep.
“He’s had three runs to bring to his top and I’m delighted with where he’s at, he’s really blossomed since the Underwood Stakes.
“I think he’ll give himself every opportunity to turn the tables on what is obviously a very good mare.”
“He looks to be in the best condition of his whole preparation,”
Hartnell will be facing off with the Kiwi mare Bonneval again in the Ladbrokes Stakes with Glyn Schofield replacing McEvoy who will be in Sydney to ride Redzel in the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick.
The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained Bonneval with Damian Lane in the saddle taking over from Hugh Bowman, has drawn the outside barrier in the eleven horse field while Hartnell will jump from gate seven.
Bonneval is a dual Oaks winner and after winning the Group 1 NZ$300,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in New Zealand in March went to Sydney to win the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick during the Autumn Carnival.
The new season four year old mare then resumed for the Spring with a win in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 9 before stretching her winning sequence to six with her victory in the Underwood Stakes.
Bonneval is holding her spot at the top of the Ladbrokes Stakes market order at $3 with Ladbrokes.com.au just ahead of Hartnell at $3.30 with Gailo Chop and Jon Show sharing the third line of betting at $10.