Leading form expert Daniel O’Sullivan has Hartnell on top of his 2015 Sydney Cup tips and he is confident that the imported stayer is the horse to beat in the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
Hartnell made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing second behind Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and stamped himself as a clear favourite in Sydney Cup betting markets by recording impressive wins in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14 and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at the same venue on March 28.
The Authorized gelding is currently available at 2015 Sydney Cup odds of $2.20 and O’Sullivan told RSN that the four-year-old still represents value at that short quote in betting for the $1.6 million.
“I came up with Hartnell at about $1.85 and $1.90 in this race,” O’Sullivan said.
“The on-track bookies obviously haven’t laid a bet in this race, so they may take a little bit more of a risk with him and if get outs much longer than even money then I think there is an edge here.
“He comes into the race with a very appealing profile; he is a Group 1 weight-for-age winner over 2400 metres last start and he comes into a Sydney Cup down on the limit weight, which is a very rare thing to see
“He has form at the 3200 metres in the UK where he won a Listed race at set weights, so there is a good reference there in terms of the trip and he has a top class turn-of-foot.
“If this race slackens in the middle stages and becomes a bit of a sprint over 800 metres there is really nothing in this field that is going to match his turn-of-foot.
“I think there is a very strong profile and he presents with the right credentials.”
Chris Waller-trained Who Shot Thebarman and Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist are the only other horses that are available at single figure Sydney Cup odds with Ladbrokes.
O’Sullivan admits that Who Shot Thebarman are both capable of winning the Sydney Cup if they can replicate their Melbourne Cup performances, but does not believe they represent any value at their current prices.
“Who Shot Thebarman and Protectionist are the obvious dangers and it really depends on how optimistic you want to be about them performing at a higher rating when they step-up to 3200 metres,” O’Sullivan said.
“I have been bullish about both of them, but I still have them longer than the market, so while I certainly respect that either of them could win this race I certainly couldn’t come into them from a betting perspective.”
Hartnell ($2.20) remains a clear favourite in Sydney Cup betting markets from Who Shot Thebarman ($4.60) and Protectionist ($4.80).