John O’Shea has Hartnell and Complacent in the 2015 Cox Plate field and the Godolphin trainer is happy with both horses ahead of the Group 1 event at Moonee Valley on Saturday.
Hartnell has flown under the radar ahead of the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m), but he was far from disgraced when he returned to racing with a fourth place finish in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 5 and he found the line extremely strongly to finish sixth in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 4.
O’Shea told Racing Ahead that he has deliberately brought Hartnell along slow this preparation, but he believes that the Authorized gelding is ready to peak in the 2015 Cox Plate.
“It has been a conscious decision to make sure we had him firing at the right end of the season,” O’Shea said.
“He is a horse that comes to hand very quickly and there is no way we could have him competitive early in the season and still expect him to be doing his best now.
“He got very fit in the last fortnight and he has made dramatic improvement since the Turnbull.
“Hopefully that transfers across to his performance on Saturday.”
Complacent missed almost two years of racing due to a tendon injury, but he has made an outstanding return to racing during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he recorded impressive wins in both the Chelmsford Stakes and the Group 3 Craven Plate (2000m) at Royal Randwick on October 3.
O’Shea was upset that Complacent missed out on a place in the Caulfield Cup field last weekend as he was confident the five-year-old was a genuine winning chance and he admits that the Cox Plate is a tougher scenario, but he remains confident that the talented entire will hit the line strongly in the final stages of the race.
“He is in great form,” O’Shea said.
“I was very disappointed when he didn’t get a run in the Caulfield Cup from the point of view of the horse and what he had been through to get himself back into that form.
“It is a different ball game Saturday, but he does look to map well.
“He is a genuine ten furlong horse and he is going to be strong late.”
Hartnell is currently available at 2015 Cox Plate odds of $16 with Ladbrokes, while Complacent has been $17 out to $19.
Don’t miss out on the best Cox Plate odds that are available with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% on every single race at Moonee Valley this weekend.