Trainer John O’Shea has been pleased with the work produced and form displayed by Hartnell through his Spring Carnival campaign so-far, and is confident the talented stayer’s recent run for fifth in the Cox Plate suggests he is in prime Melbourne Cup form.
Hartnell was one of Godolphin Australia’s standout performer through the Sydney Autumn Carnival this year and returned this time for fourth in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September fifth before a fair performance for sixth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) on October 4th.
O’Shea was impressed with the way Hartnell attacked the line in the Cox Plate last time out and is confident the British import has received an ideal tune-up for the 2015 Melbourne Cup at Flemington on Tuesday.
“We know that Hartnell, on the strength of his Cox Plate run is going to be competitive,” O’Shea told the media this week.
Hartnell has been a strong and consistent performer since first appearing on course competitively partway through 2013; posting an impressive seven wins and five minors through only twenty career starts.
Beginning his career under the guidance of notable British trainer Mark Johnston, Hartnell secured form around some of the world’s best racehorses through his European campaigns; winning each of the Listed Queen’s Vase (3219m) and Group 3 Bahrain Trophy (2615m) most notably through 2014.
Given little chance for success in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) on debut in Australia on February 28th, Hartnell mustered a huge turn of foot in the final straight at Warwick Farm to run a close second to stable mate Contributer.
Progressing to success in the Group 2 Sky High Stakes (2000m) a fortnight later, the Authorized gelding broke through for a maiden win at the highest level in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) before running fourth in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) on Day 2 of The Championships.
Godolphin will have two entrants in the 2015 Melbourne Cup; the second, Sky Hunter, saddled by lead trainer Saeed Bin Suroor who is chasing his first winner in the race that stops a nation after many notable attempts since the turn of the century.
“We try for years and years,” Bin Suroor said this week.
“We’ve finished second three times in the past. I hope this time we can do it.”
Hartnell can be taken at 2015 Melbourne Cup odds of $31 with Ladbrokes Australia, while Sky Hunter represents exceptional value at a quote of $41.