English import Hartnell is well on target to collect his second Group 1 trophy in The Metropolitan after running a gutsy second to super star mare Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick last Saturday.
Trainer John O’Shea has selected the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 1 as Hartnell’s early Spring Carnival goal and the Godolphin trainer was more than happy with his first run since finishing fifth to Winx in the Group 1 $600,000 Precise Air Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on February 27.
“It was very satisfying for everyone in the stable to see him run so well,” O’Shea said.
“He’s heading toward another Metropolitan and that was a great first step along that track.”
O’Shea had to cut short Hartnell’s Sydney Autumn Carnival campaign this year after only one run because of injury but the six year old has returned to the race track in fine order.
Stable rider James McDonald was also enthusiastic about Hartnell’s first up effort and is looking forward to a successful Spring Carnival with the stayer.
“He was fantastic, that’s the real Hartnell,” McDonald said.
“He’s right on track, he’s come back in unreal shape.”
Hartnell was a well performed Group 3 winner in England when the Godolphin team decided to send him to Australia and O’Shea was able to turn him into a Group 1 winner with victory in the $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Carnival at is first preparation down under.
At his first start on Australian soil, the Authorized gelding ran second to stablemate and fellow import Contributer in the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm and then broke through for a win in last year’s running of the Group 3 $150,000 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill prior to winning The BMW.
At his next start Hartnell was fourth as favourite to Grand Marshal in the Group 1 $1.6m Schweppes 150th Sydney Cup (3200m) at Randwick on day two of ‘The Championships’.
Hartnell failed to fire during the 2015 Spring Carnival and ended his campaign with a fifteenth, beaten almost six lengths, to Prince Of Penzance in the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington.