Godolphin’s number one Australian jockey James McDonald considers his mount Hartnell to have a better chance than his Melbourne Cup odds of $31 suggest.
The John O’Shea trained Hartnell has been steady at $31 with Ladbrokes.com.au since the final field was released on Saturday afternoon but McDonald thinks his form warrants him to be higher up in the market order for the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington today.
“I definitely don’t think he’s a ($31) shot – he deserves to be up there,” McDonald told racing.com.
“If you look at Preferment’s form – he’s ($9) third favourite – we’ve beaten him several times and I think he’s just as good a horse.
“So I’m going into the race thinking I’m on a third favourite in the Melbourne Cup, so if you look at it like that, I’ve got a great chance.”
“He’s won over 3200m – he is BMW winner, which is a good sign – he’s a tough stayer and he’s got a good action.”
English import Hartnell was the winner of the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill during the Sydney Autumn Carnival earlier in the year and O’Shea has given the five year old three Spring Carnival runs in preparation for today’s 3200m contest.
McDonald has been aboard Hartnell for all his three runs this campaign and is giving himself a great chance of winning his first Melbourne Cup.
Hartnell kicked off his Spring with a fourth in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 5 before O’Shea shipped him to Melbourne.
The Authorized gelding then ran sixth to Preferment in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4 followed by a fifth to Winx in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
McDonald does consider barrier seventeen in the twenty-four horse field as a slight disadvantage but that will all unfold in the run down the long Flemington straight the first time.
“He’s drawn 17, which is not ideal for a horse like him, but we’ll go with the flow,” McDonald said.
“He covers the ground really well, if he settles, he’ll be in the finish.”
Another problem facing McDonald is the state of the Flemington track down the straight which is rated a good 4 from the inside fence out to the 10m mark while the section from the 10m to the 14m is rated a soft 6, the section that McDonald could find himself in if he can’t slot in any closer in the run to the first turn.
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Melbourne Cup market order with Ladbrokes.com.au: $4.80 Fame Game, $7.50 Trip To Paris, $9 Preferment, $11 Max Dynamite, $15 Criterion, $17 Almoonqith, $19 Our Ivanhowe, $21 The United States, Who Shot Thebarman, Bondi Beach, $31 Red Cadeuax, Hartnell, Excess Knowledge, $34 Gust Of Wind, Sky Hunter, $41 Hokko Brave, Kingfisher, The Offer, $51 Grand Marshall, Snow Sky, $61 Big Orange, $81 Quest For More, $101 Prince Of Penzance, $151 Sertorius.
Have a bet on the Melbourne Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au and go into the draw to win a Ford Ranger, an Aquamaster Boat or a Honda Bike. To be eligible to win, just place a bet of any value on the 2015 Melbourne Cup. This includes- but is not restricted to- all bets on Futures, All In, Exotic, Best Tote or SP and Fixed Odds markets. For full terms and conditions go to Ladbrokes.com.au.