English import Hartnell is primed to take on the might of the Japanese trained To The World in the Group 1 $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill today.
The Yasutoshi Ikee trained To The World currently heads The BMW market order with Ladbrokes.com.au at $2.25 and will be having his first run since running second to Gentildonna in the Group 1 US$4m Arima Kinen (Grand Prix) (2500m) at Nakayama, Japan on December 28.
But trainer John O’Shea is certain if the Godolphin owned Hartnell gets a good run in the race he will be challenging To The World at the business end of proceedings.
“He’s as well as we can have him,” O’Shea told ATC TV.
“Just hoping that we are good enough. I’m sure he will get a nice run in the race and we are very happy for where he is at.”
“It’s a BMW and they are very hard to win but we are happy for where our horse is and if we can have a bit of luck and win the race it would be a great honour.”
Hartnell’s rider, the in-form James McDonald, is coming off a Group 1 winning double last Saturday at Rosehill and has a mountain of respect for To The World but will be giving his all to have another Group 1 trophy on his mantle piece.
“They reckon this one is one of the box,” McDonald said.
“If you go through it’s form it looks like that. If he turns up and brings eighty per cent of his A game he will probably win the race still.”
Ironically one of McDonald’s Group 1 successes last week was on another Japanese trained horse, Real Impact, which he steered to a head bobbing win over Criterion in the weight for age $1m George Ryder Stakes (1500m).
McDonald’s other Group 1 victory was aboard Hartnell’s stablemate Contributer in the Group 1 $500,000 Ranvet Stakes (2000m).
Hartnell has had two runs for O‘Shea since arriving from England for a second to Contributer in the Group 1 $500,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 followed by a win in the Group 3 $150,000 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill a fortnight ago.
Latest market order for The BMW: $2.25 To The World, $3.50 Hartnell, $9 Protectionist, Lucia Valentina, $13 Silent Achiever, $17 Who Shot Thebarman, $31 Extra Zero, $34 Opinion, $67 Beaten Up, Hampton Court, $101 Fast Dragon.