Hartnell has been backed into 2015 Sydney Cup odds of $2.20 and has easily been the market mover in betting markets for the Group 1 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Hartnell opened at a quote of $2.80 when the Sydney Cup field was released on Tuesday and his odds shortened to $2.50 following the withdrawal of Red Cadeaux, but the support continued to flow for the imported stayer and he is set to start the race as a dominant favourite.
The Authorized gelding performed well without being a superstar during his racing career in Europe, but he has gone to another level since he arrived in Australia and he finished second behind stablemate Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 before he took out both the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14 and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at the same venue on March 28.
O’Shea has been thrilled with the progress that Hartnell has made since he made his Australian racing debut and he told Racing Ahead that he can’t fault the four-year-old ahead of the 2015 Sydney Cup this weekend.
“He is probably even a little bit better than what he was in The BMW,” O’Shea said.
“He has made tremendous improvement.
“He is getting up to his favourite trip and his favourite conditions with that dead to slow ground that he loves.
“He has a beautiful and going for the weight-for-age, set weights program has allowed us to protect his handicap.
“He is just a class act, he has a lovely demeanor and he just loves his work and his racing.
“He is a very easy horse to train.
“The market says that he is the favored runner, he ticks a lot of boxes and The BMW runners have good credentials for Sydney Cups and I think that The BMW was far a strong version that the form far outweighs the handicap form.”
Who Shot Thebarman ($4.60) and Protectionist ($4.80) are the only other horses that are available at single figure Sydney Cup odds, while there has been a sprinkling of support for Dominant ($17 into $15) and Au Revoir ($31 into $26).
O’Shea is chasing his second win in the Sydney Cup after taking out the 2010 edition of the race with Jessicabeel.