Hartnell and Contributer are working towards the start of their 2015 Spring Racing Carnival campaigns and the star duo impressed jockey James McDonald with their performance in trackwork this morning.
The Group 1 winners were both having their final serious piece of trackwork at Godolphin’s base at Agnes Bank before they contest a barrier trial in Sydney next Monday and McDonald gave positive reviews about the two imports.
“Hartnell was probably going to be the one that furnished the most after a preparation here in Australia, but both horses have come back in really nice order and I couldn’t have been happier with the way they felt this morning,” McDonald told Sky Racing HQ.
“They didn’t do too much this morning, but I got a really good feel off Hartnell and Contributer and they are ticking along really well.”
Hartnell was purchased by Godolphin before the start of the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and he made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing second in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 before he took out the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14.
The Authorized entire upset Japanese star Real Impact to take out the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 28, but he was beaten as favourite after leading in the early stages of the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) at Royal Randwick on April 11.
McDonald said that Hartnell has taken plenty of benefit from his stint in the spelling paddock and he is looking forward to partnering the five-year-old when he starts his Melbourne Cup campaign in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 5.
“Hartnell arrived off the plane and had a preparation in the autumn,” McDonald said.
“He obviously won The BMW in very good fashion – beating Japan’s best visitor from the autumn – and if he can live up to that form in the spring I am sure that he will be a force to be reckoned with.”
Contributer took out the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on February 14, the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 21 before his campaign came to a premature end when he suffered an injury in the lead-up to the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Royal Randwick on April 11.
McDonald believes that Contributer has bounced back from the issue without any problems and he is happy with the physical condition of the High Chaparral entire ahead of his spring campaign that will include starts in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 5, the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 26 and the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 24.
“You can’t say enough about Contributer,” McDonald said.
“He was probably the horse of the autumn all the way through and it was just unfortunate that he had a hiccup before his Grand Final and never made it.
“He has come back as a furnished stallion now.”
Contributer is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $10 with Ladbrokes while Hartnell is on the fourth line of betting at a quote of $14.