Hartnell has been included in the 2015 Sky High Stakes field, but trainer John O’Shea has revealed that the imported galloper is no certainty to take his place in the Group 3 event at Rosehill Gardens this weekend.
O’Shea said yesterday that Hartnell would be included in the acceptances for both the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) and the Group 2 Sky High Stakes (2000m), but he elected not to send the Authorized gelding to Melbourne for the $1 million race.
The Godolphin head trainer told TVN that he had analysed Hartnell’s European form and is now leaning towards keep the four-year-old fresh for either the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens or the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at the same venue a week later, rather than running him in the Sky High Stakes this weekend.
“He may not run in Sydney either,” O’Shea said.
“I’m being a bit conservative with him and he might go to the Ranvet or he might even go straight to the BMW.
“The more I look at his form all his runs are well spaced and hence the good performance we saw from him first up in the Chipping Norton.
“I had a chat to Henry (Plumptre) after he worked and there were a few little things that were telling me that he does need to be fresh.
“I think he’s a pretty talented horse and I just want to make sure of everything going forward as there’s plenty of money available in Sydney.”
The 2015 Sky High Stakes field was released by Racing New South Wales this morning and Hartnell will face nine rivals if he takes his place in the $150,000 event this weekend.
Leading Sydney trainer Chris Waller will have at least half of the Sky High Stakes after he included Who Shot Thebarman, Beaten Up, Hawkspur, Opinion and Junoob in the acceptances for the race.
Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar is set to continue his return from injury in the Sky High Stakes after producing credible performances in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Royal Randwick on February 14 and the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m), while Team Snowden-trained Disclaimer is likely to appreciate the step-up to 2000 metres after being outpaced in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) and Chipping Norton Stakes.
The 2015 Sky High Stakes field is rounded out by Randwick City Stakes winner Phrases (barrier eight) and Gai Waterhouse-trained Pajaro (barrier ten).