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A pleasing gallop by Hartnell on the Caulfield course proper this morning has convinced the Godolphin stable that the star galloper will handle the track better when he returns there for the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) on Sunday.

Hartnell, above, heads back to Caulfield for the Underwood Stakes. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Hartnell, above, heads back to Caulfield for the Underwood Stakes. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Hartnell has raced once at Caulfield for a win in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) on August 19 and his winning jockey Craig Williams said that he wasn’t that comfortable on the tricky circuit.

But trainer James Cummings’ Melbourne representative David Charles said that the seven year old didn’t put a foot wrong this morning.

“Hartnell was perfect,” Charles told AAP.

“His work was really solid, exactly what James would have wanted.

“He got around on his right leg so I can’t fault him for Sunday.”

Hartnell is one of sixteen horses nominated for the weight for age Underwood Stakes which is shaping up as a great contest in the lead up to the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21.

Joining Hartnell in the entry list for the Underwood Stakes are the Group 1 winners Black Heart Bart, Gailo Chop, Single Gaze, Bonneval, Inference, He’s Our Rokkii, Abbey Marie and Magicool.

Kerrin McEvoy has been engaged to ride Hartnell again in the Underwood Stakes and is hoping for a better result than last start when they suffered a shock defeat as the odds on favourite when second to the Darren Weir trained Humidor in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16.

Humidor’s stablemate Black Heart Bart finished third in the Makybe Diva Stakes and is a great a chance of making it back to back wins in the Underwood Stakes after beating He Or She and Lucia Valentina in last year’s version.

Kiwi mare Bonneval has returned in the Spring in winning form with a first up victory in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 9 as she heads towards the Caulfield Cup.

The Murray Baker and Andrew Forsman trained Bonneval was one of the stars of the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival and after winning the Group 1 NZ$300,000 New Zealand Oaks (2400m) at Trentham in New Zealand on March 18 arrived in the Harbour City to win the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Australian Oaks (2400m) at Randwick.

Hartnell has been installed the early favourite for the Underwood Stakes at $2 at Ladbrokes.com.au ahead of Bonneval at $4.40 and Black Heart Bart at $5.50.

Early market order for the 2017 Underwood Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $2 Hartnell, $4.40 Bonneval, $5.50 Black Heart Bart, $8 Gailo Chop, $17 Abbey Marie, Single Gaze, $21 Hardham, Samovare, $26 He’s Our Rokkii, Inference, Ventura Storm, $34 So Si Bon, $41 Jacquinot Bay, $51 Petrology, $67 Amralah, $301 Magicool.

About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.

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