The John O’Shea-trained Sydney raider Hartnell has settled in well in Melbourne in good order ahead of his shot at the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington Racecourse on Sunday.
A total of 20 gallopers make up the nominations received by Racing Victoria on Monday for this weekend’s $500,000 Group 1 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (200m) including three O’Shea-trained runners from the Godolphin stable.
Likely favourite is the in-form Authorized six-year-old Hartnell who has won back-to-back races at Randwick in Sydney.
The first was an eight length romp home in the wet on September 3 in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m).
The European import, winner of the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in March of 2015, won again a fortnight later by another impressive margin of six lengths in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m).
O’Shea confirmed plans last week to head south for the Turnbull Stakes over testing the galloper back up over the mile and a half at Royal Randwick in this Saturday’s $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m).
Hartnell chases the Hill Stakes – Turnbull Stakes interstate double achieved by the Chris Waller-trained Preferment last spring.
“He’s settled in well since arriving in Melbourne last week and it’s full-steam ahead for the Turnbull,” O’Shea said on Monday.
Preferment is also back chasing back-to-back Turnbull Stakes wins this weekend.
The now five-year-old son of Zabeel was in flying form over the autumn winning the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) over the Turnbull Stakes track / distance as well as this year’s edition of The BMW in Sydney.
He has run out of the money behind Hartnell in his two starts this time in when fourth in the Chelmsford Stakes and fifth in the Hill Stakes, but has won three-from-four at Flemington and is likely to improve the Melbourne way of going at his pet track.
The other notable last start winner along with Harntell in the Turnbull Stakes mix this spring is the Ciaron Maher-trained Myboycharlie mare Jameka.
The last Turnbull Stakes winning mare was Devil Moon (2007), Jameka out to be the next on the back of her Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) win by three and three-quarter lengths over the distance at Caulfield on September 17.
The four-year-old is two-from-five at the famous Flemington track, including her Group 1 Crown Oaks (2500m) win last Melbourne Cup Carnival that followed the Group 2 Moonee Valley Vase (2040m) victory on Cox Plate Day.
Maher has also nominated for his 2014 Crown Oaks winner Set Square who ran fourth to her stablemate in the Naturalism Stakes last time out.
The other Turnbull Stakes nominated mares this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival are recent P.B. Lawrence Stakes winner Miss Rose De Lago, the Darren Weir-trained Real Love, 2014 ATC Oaks winner Rising Romance and this year’s ATC Oaks winner Sofia Rosa from New Zealand.
The most successful Turnbull Stakes winning trainer in the past 30 years with six victories is Lee Freedman who is back with Our Ivanhowe this season.
The seven-year-old German import ran third in last year’s Caulfield Cup and also won the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) in the winter.
First-up the Solider Hollow stallion finished four lengths away fifth to Palentino in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), but he missed out on a Group 1 Underwood Stakes (2000m) run last Saturday due to a cut on his leg.
Robert Hickmott has prepared two past Turnbull Stakes champions including the 2012 Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon four years ago.
He returns this season with Naturalism Stakes runner-up Gallante who won the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles in the autumn and reigning Ranvet Stakes winner The United States for owner Lloyd Williams.
The 2016 Turnbull Stakes final field of acceptances is due for release at 10:00am (AEST) on Wednesday.