Imported stayer Hartnell will make his Australian racing debut in the 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm tomorrow and trainer John O’Shea is confident that the talented galloper will take plenty of improvement from the run.
Harntell was purchased by Godolphin after he finished seventh behind the uber talented Kingston Hill in the Group 1 Ladbrokes St Leger Stakes (2937m) at Doncaster on September 13 and according to O’Shea he has thrived since arriving in Australia.
The Authorized gelding made his first public appearance in Australia when he finished fourth behind the speedy I’m All The Talk in a barrier trial over 808 metres at Warwick Farm on January 27 before he produced another lovely barrier trial performance to win over 1200 metres at the same venue on February 9.
O’Shea told Racing Ahead that he is very happy with Hartnell heading into the 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes, but he does not rate for-year-old a winning chance in the Group 1 event at Warwick Farm this weekend.
“Hartnell has been very impressive in everything that he has done since he has been with us,” O’Shea said.
“He has got nice improvement from whatever he does on Saturday and he has a terrible draw, which will probably stop his winning chances.
“James will have to ride him conservatively in a race where there doesn’t appear to be a lot of speed, but I would expect him to perform well and lay a foundation for the rest of the autumn.”
Godolphin stable jockey James Doyle has been booked to ride Harntell in the Chipping Norton Stakes and he will be riding in Australia for the first time after he missed the 2014 Melbourne Cup ride on Willing Foe due to suspension.
Doyle and colleague William Buick are expected to make numerous trips to Australia during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and O’Shea said that it is a big advantage to be able to call on both talented hoops in big races.
“He rode the Oaks winner last night and he has been in great form in Dubai all summer over there,” O’Shea said.
“He is a quality rider and we are very lucky to be able to call on both him and William at any time during the year.”
Hartnell is currently available at 2015 Chipping Norton Stakes odds of $13 with Ladbrokes, while Contributer ($2.70) is a clear favourite from Lucia Valentina ($5), Ninth Legion ($9), Weary ($10) and Silent Achiever ($11).