The James Cummings trained Hartnell won’t have the nightmarish task of chasing Winx home again when he contests the Group 1 $600,000 Schweppes All Aged Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on Saturday.
The last time Hartnell appeared at Randwick he had the privilege of being runner up to the champion mare Winx just over twelve months ago in the Group 1 $4m Longines Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on day two of The Championships.
Winx is now in the spelling paddock after winning her twenty-fifth straight race with back to back victories in the 2018 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick last Saturday.
When Hartnell steps out onto the Randwick course proper on Saturday for the All Aged Stakes, Winx will be nowhere in sight but he will have her jockey, Hugh Bowman, holding the reins on top.
Hartnell kicked off his Autumn Carnival campaign in grand style with a first up win in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 10 but after his form tapered off in his next couple of runs, Cummings decided to freshen up the seven year old for another attempt at a 1400m Group 1 at the end of the Carnival.
Cummings eased off on Hartnell after he beat two runners home when tenth to Harlem in the Group 1 $1.5m Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 10 and the Godolphin head trainer is happy with the way here has shaped up since.
“He’s in good shape and it would be satisfying to see him get back into the form that he was in when he beat Brave Smash in the Orr Stakes,’’ Cummings told The Daily Telegraph.
“He is back after a six-week break and looks nice and fresh, which is how we wanted him to be. He had a nice blowout in a barrier trial but looks to have come on again.”
“We decided to freshen up Hartnell after the Australian Cup and target this race.”
“I knew the All Aged Stakes would come up ‘strong’ but Hartnell has shown he is very effective when trained for 1400m races.”
Hartnell is marked as a $9 chance for the All Aged Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au behind the short priced favourite Trapeze Artist at $2.25, Brave Smash at $7 and Le Romain at $8.50.