A small field of nine runners headed by Hartnell and Black Heart Bart will line up in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on Sunday.
Trainer James Cummings was hoping to have Hartnell ridden more conservatively with some cover but Kerrin McEvoy will have to be at his best after the multiple Group 1 winner drew barrier eight in the nine horse Underwood Stakes field.
“He steps out to the 1800m here in the Underwood and he’ll be well suited,” Cummings told the Herald Sun.
“We’d love to ride him with a little bit of cover this time, a little more neutrally from the barriers.
“I think he’s really ready to attack the line and he showed real sharpness in his gallop at Caulfield on Tuesday morning and the reports from the team in Melbourne are really strong.”
Hartnell resumed from a spell for a first up win in the Group 2 $200,000 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19 and then was beaten as favourite when runner up to Humidor in the Group 1 $750,000 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16.
Cummings has reported that Hartnell has come through his last run in fine style and is looking for another bold performance.
“I was delighted to see him pull up quite well from what was a tough run in the Makybe Diva Stakes. He had to burn the candle at both ends and he was able to hold off the challenges and battle on bravely for second,” Cummings said.
Trainer Darren Weir’s stable star Black Heart Bart drew the outside barrier with Brad Rawiller to ride again while the stable’s other runner Gailo Chop drew the rails with Mark Zahra booked to ride.
Black Heart Bart is the winner of five Group 1 races but hasn’t been in the winner’s stall since his victory in the Group 1 $500,000 italktravel Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield during the 2017 Melbourne Autumn Carnival.
The seven year old has been racing consistently with three placings this campaign, a first up third to Hartnell in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes, a second to Vega Magic in the Group 1 $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 2 followed by a third behind Humidor and Hartnell in the Makybe Diva Stakes two weeks later.
The Lindsay Park Team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig will saddle up two runners in the Underwood Stakes, He’s Our Rokkii from barrier two with Regan Bayliss to ride and Samovare from barrier seven for Damian Lane.
He’s Our Rokkii is also an acceptor for the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on Saturday with Dwayne Dunn booked to ride from barrier five.
Kiwi trained Australian Oaks winner Bonneval has drawn nicely at barrier three with Hugh Bowman in the saddle and is certain to be in the firing line again following her first up win in the Group 2 $250,000 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at The Valley on September 9.