Godolphin’s top line weight for age performer Hartnell has been installed the odds on favourite for the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday as he avoids another clash with champion mare Winx.
Early betting for the Makybe Diva Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Hartnell listed as the $1.80 top pick ahead of the first of the Darren Weir trained horses, Black Heart Bart at $6.50 while Le Romain is the only other runner under the $10 mark at $8.
The James Cummings trained Hartnell was runner up to champion mare Winx on several occasions during last year’s Spring Carnival and again in the Autumn, including a second in Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley in the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival.
But with Winx doing her early Spring racing in Sydney, Hartnell was able to resume with a very comfortable win over Charmed Harmony and Black Heart Bart in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19.
Godolphin’s Melbourne representative David Charles said that on his P.B. Lawrence Stakes display, Hartnell was in for a very good Spring Carnival.
“He is an amazing adaptable horse and I am really looking forward to the rest of the Spring with him,” Charles said.
The Chris Waller trained Winx is aiming up for her twentieth win on the trot when she lines up in the Group 1 $500,000 Colgate Optic White Stakes (George Main Stakes) (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday.
Winx will again be heading towards the Ladbrokes Cox Plate to try to make it three wins in a row while Cummings is setting Hartnell for the Group 1 $3.15m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 21.
Weir has three horses nominated for the Makybe Diva Stakes and as well as Black Heart Bart, is likely to saddle up Group 1 winners Gailo Chop and Humidor.
Humidor is likely to follow the same Spring path as Hartnell with Weir indicating that the Australian Cup winners would be heading towards the Caulfield Cup as one of his main Spring Carnival targets.
“He would be the pick of my group,” Weir told AAP.
“We planned on giving him a good break and aiming towards the spring and aiming towards the Caulfield Cup, so he’d be the pick of mine.”
Humidor hasn’t threatened at two runs back from a spell but will get better as he steps up in distance following a first up sixth to Hartnell in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes and an eighth to Vega Magic in the Group 1 $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 2.
Early betting for the 2017 Makybe Diva Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $1.80 Hartnell, $6.50 Black Heart Bart, $8 Le Romain, $11 Hey Doc, $13 Humidor, $15 Foxplay, Gailo Chop, Yankee Rose, $21 Jon Snow, Tom Melbourne, $26 I Am A Star, Inference, Tavago, $34 Seaburge, $41 He Or She, $51 Single Gaze, Ventura Storm, $81 Jacquinot Bay.