Godolphin’s number one Caulfield Cup contender Hartnell will sidestep a clash with super mare Winx in the Turnbull Stakes and have his next outing in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 1.
Trainer Chris Waller made a surprise announcement on Wednesday that Winx would be heading to Melbourne for the Group 1 $500,000 Seppelt Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 7 as her final lead up run for the Group 1 $3m Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley three weeks later.
Winx will be attempting to make history with three successive Cox Plate wins and equal legendary Kingston Town’s record that he set with his wins in the ‘Weight For Age Championship of Australasia’ in 1980, 1981 and 1982.
Hartnell is tracking a course towards the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21 but suffered a shock defeat as the odds on favourite when second to Humidor in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday.
Trainer James Cummings said that Hartnell has recovered from the hard run in the Makybe Diva Stakes in fine style and jockey Kerrin McEvoy has been booked again to ride the classy galloper in the Underwood Stakes.
“I think the horse has pulled up strongly enough from a tough run in the Makybe Diva Stakes and I think he’ll run very well for Kerrin in the Underwood,” Cummings told Sydney’s Sky Sports Radio.
“We booked Kerrin McEvoy to ride the horse in the Underwood on Monday.”
“I think it’s just a matter of plotting the path we feel suits the horse.”
“I think that he’ll run very well in the Underwood. It was a bit of a coin toss as a lead-up to where we want to go next.”
Hartnell was a dominant winner in last year’s Turnbull Stakes before going on to run second to Winx, beaten eight lengths, in the 2016 Cox Plate.
The Underwood Stakes will be Hartnell’s third run back this Spring Carnival campaign and prior to his defeat in the Makybe Diva Stakes was a first up winner in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19.
Hartnell has been allocated the top weight of 58kg for the Caulfield Cup and is currently on the fourth line of betting at $9 at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Darren Weir trained Humidor sits at the top of the Caulfield Cup market order at $6 ahead of the Kiwi mare Bonneval at $7 and last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Almandin at $8.