Hartnell remains on top of 2015 Chelmsford Stakes betting markets, but trainer John O’Shea is cautious about the chances of the imported galloper in the Group 2 event at Royal Randwick tomorrow.
Hartnell made his Australian racing debut with a fast-finishing second behind Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on February 28 and he stamped himself as one of the most exciting horses in the country with wins in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill Gardens on March 14 and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
The Authorized gelding showed that he was ready for a return to racing when he produced two eye-catching barrier trials at Royal Randwick on August 10 and August 21, but O’Shea is not certain that the five-year-old is as forward as he was for his first-up run last year.
“He has trialed very well, but he is a lot bigger than he was first-up last time,” O’Shea said.
“He probably wouldn’t be as effective on Saturday, but in saying that he looks to have improved from last preparation.
“As long as he has a good day out and Mac gives him a soft run early I am sure that he will run well.
“We are very happy with him and we want to see a good foundation for when he comes down to Melbourne in three weeks time to run in the Underwood.”
The other Godolphin-owned runner in the 2015 Chelmsford Stakes field is Complacent, who made his long-awaited return to racing in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 22.
O’Shea believes that Complacent has improved coming out of the Warwick Stakes, but he believes that the Spring Champion Stakes winner is still a couple of runs short of being a legitimate winning chance.
“He was in a good spot, but then the horse ran off in front of him and ended his race,” O’Shea said.
“He has trained on well and he gets a beautiful run from gate six.
“He wouldn’t be a winning chance, but I still think that he is not far off and over the next couple of runs he is going to be competitive.”
Hartnell is currently available at 2015 Chelmsford Stakes odds of $3.30 with Ladbrokes, while Complacent is priced at $31 to record an upset win.