Trainer James Cummings has set the evergreen Hartnell to repeat last year’s first up winning performance in the 2018 Group 2 $200,000 Sir John Monash P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Hartnell was a dominant first up winner in the 2017 version of the P. B. Lawrence Stakes and Cummings has prepared the eight year old along the same program as he did twelve months ago.
“He’s going down a well-tried path,” Cummings said.
“He may be an eight-year-old now, but he’s young at heart and he’s still enjoying himself.
“From what he’s shown us, he’s ready to run another nice race fresh.
“It looks to be a strong edition of the PB Lawrence, but that’s what we thought last year, and he beat them comfortably.”
Hartnell is facing several of the same opposition from last year’s P.B. Lawrence Stakes with the Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart and Humidor being two of his main rivals again.
The imported gelding also showed his liking for the Caulfield 1400m course when he carried the famous Godolphin royal blue colours to another first up win in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield at the start of his 2018 Autumn Carnival campaign.
Hartnell followed that win with a third to Gailo Chop in the Group 2 $200,000 Carlton Draught Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield before finishing well out of a place when tenth to Harlem in the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington.
Cummings then switched his attention to Sydney where Hartnell finished a game fourth to Trapeze Artist in the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick.
In an open betting race at Ladbroks.com.au, Hartnell is the second pick for the P. B. Lawrence Stakes at $6 just behind the Mick Prince trained Grunt at $5.
Other runners under the $10 mark are Black Heart Bart at $7.50, Danon Liberty at $8.50 and Mighty Boss and Showtime who are both marked at $9.50.