In-form Godophin English import Hartnell is set to take his winning Sydney form to Melbourne after being ruled out of the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on October 1.
Trainer John O’Shea confirmed that Hartnell will now head south and continue his Spring Carnival campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 2.
“We’re heading to the Turnbull with him because it gives us more options later in the spring,” O’Shea told RSN’s Racing Ahead.
Hartnell has been nominated for the big three Melbourne Spring Carnival features, the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley, the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield and the Group 1 $6m Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington, but O’Shea is yet to confirm what path to take.
“All of the Spring features in Melbourne remain on the table and a decision will be made on a global basis that considers the locally-trained horses as well as those coming from overseas,” O’Shea said.
“We are excited about sending him to Melbourne and look forward to him running in the Turnbull next weekend.”
Hartnell has produced two outstanding wins at his last two starts after running second to Winx first up in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20.
With James McDonald getting windburn, Hartnell cruised to a seven and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 3 followed by a five and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 17.
Another dominant performance in the Turnbull Stakes could tempt O’Shea to take on Winx again in the Cox Plate.
The Chris Waller trained Winx has won her last eleven starts and among her seven Group 1 victories is last year’s Cox Plate which she won by a staggering four and three quarter lengths with Hartnell finishing in fifth spot, more than ten lengths behind the super mare.
Hartnell has only visited the Group 1 winner’s stall on one occasion with his victory in the $1.5m The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill during the 2015 Sydney Autumn Carnival.
Winx is dominating the Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au at $1.80 with Hartnell leading the rest of the field at $9 just ahead of French galloper Vadamos at $13.
Early Cox Plate market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.80 Winx, $9 Hartnell, $13 Vadamos, $15 The United States, $17 Divine Prophet, $19 Lucia Valentina, $21 Palentino, Omei Sword, Black Heart Bart, $26 Evacuation, Tosen Stardom, Highland Reel, Hauraki, $31 He’s Our Rokkii, Order Of St George, Our Ivanhowe, Sacred Elixir, $41 and over the rest.