Cox Plate fancy Hartnell has a look at Moonee Valley

By: Mark Mazzaglia
October 13th, 2016

Trainer John O’Shea will decide early next week if Hartnell needs to return to Moonee Valley for another track work session after the Cox Plate second favourite had a look at the tricky circuit this morning.

Trainer John O'Shea is happy with the progress of Hartnell, above, heading towards  the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Trainer John O’Shea is happy with the progress of Hartnell, above, heading towards the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley. Photo by Ultimate Racing Photos.

Hartnell hadn’t been to Moonee Valley since running fifth to Winx in last year’s Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) and O’Shea was glad he brought the English import back to familiarise him with the venue before lining up against the Chris Waller winning machine again on October 22.

“I will make that decision on Monday after seeing how they do after today,” O’Shea told racing.com.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to have come here and utilised the facilities, and give them familiarity, but we will not make that decision until the start of next week.”

“His work this morning was pleasing and I am very happy with where he is at.”

“It did him good to come over and have a look, to stretch his legs a little as he has had a relatively easy time since the Turnbull.”

“I will make that decision on Monday after seeing how they do after today.”

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to have come here and utilised the facilities, and give them familiarity, but we will not make that decision until the start of next week.”

Hartnell has thrown down the gauntlet to $1.90 Cox Plate favourite Winx following some outstanding form that saw the six year old rack up a Spring Carnival hat trick of wins and now sees him as the second pick at $3 at Ladbrokes.com.au.

After running second to Winx first up in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick, Hartnell went on to win the Group 2 $250,000 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) and the Group 2 $200,000 Hill Stakes (2000m) both at Randwick before heading to Melbourne to score another convincing win in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.

While O’Shea is very happy with the condition of Hartnell, he knows that Winx will be very hard beat in thie year’s ‘Weight For Age Championship’.

“Winx is a champion, she is $1.90 favourite so I don’t need to say much more than that,” O’Shea said.

“I’m always a great advocate of horses for courses, she has had one go at Moonee Valley and she won a Cox Plate by five easing down, you’ve not seen her back here since then.

“So apart from being a champion mare she just may have a great affiliation with this track which makes her even harder to beat.”

O’Shea also sent out his other Cox Plate contender Hauraki for a look at the Moonee Valley track this morning and is pleased with the way he has progress since winning the Group 1 $1m Epsom (1600m) at Randwick on October 1.

“He is in a wonderful vein of form, going really well,” O’Shea said.

“He has settled in at Flemington tremendously well, got around the course nicely.”

Hauraki is currently marked at $18 for the Cox Plate.

Early Cox Plate market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.90 Winx, $3 Hartnell, $15 Vadamos, Yankee Rose, $17 Lucia Valentina, $18 Black Heart Bart, Hauraki, $51 Sacred Elixir, $61 Awesome Rock, Happy Clapper Jameka, Palentino, Happy Trails, He’s Our Rokkii, $81 or more the rest.

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