Sentimental favourite Hartnell could have a fairytale end to his illustrious career with a win in today’s Group 1 $2m Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
Trainer James Cummings and the Godolphin Team announced during the week that Hartnell would be retired from the race track after running in the Mackinnon Stakes and a win would take the nine year old’s Group 1 tally to five.
Hartnell might be the sentimental favourite but he is marked at $9.50 with Ladbrokes.com.au while the all-conquering Kiwi mare Melody Belle in the bookie’s favourite at $3.30.
Cummings would love to see Hartnell add another Group 1 win to his record but he knows the veteran will run his usual honest race.
“It would be a perfect end to this part of the story. It will be a great race for him to win, but he certainly should have finished much closer in the Caulfield Cup, so he won’t be intimidated,” Cummings said.
“He has an amazing ability to always be figuring in the biggest races.”
“He’s transcended the normal meaning for what it is to be a racehorse at Godolphin.”
“For a long period of time, he’s been the best horse Godolphin has raced in Australia.”
“With 13 wins against his name and 22 other minor placings, he’s got some record.”
Going into today’s race, Hartnell’s record stands at 57 starts, with 13 wins, 22 placings with prizemoney earnings of $7,289,499.
Hartnell’s last win was in the 2018 in the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick but he has only been placed twice from six starts during the 2019 Spring Carnival.
Two starts back Hartnell finished third to Kings Will Dream in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington on October 5 and he wasn’t disgraced last start when seventh in the Group 1 $5.15m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield three weeks ago.
Hugh Bowman will have the privilege of riding Hartnell in his last race day appearance and the crowd favourite will jump from gate thirteen in the capacity sixteen horse Mackinnon Stakes field.
Kiwi super star Melody Belle collected her tenth Group 1 trophy with a win in the Group 1 $1m Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday and is the solid $3.30 Mackinnon Stakes favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Betting for the 2019 Mackinnon Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $3.30 Melody Belle, $7 Magic Wand, $9.50 Hartnell, Humidor, $10 Kings Will Dream, $15 Kluger, $18 Fifty Stars, Cape Of Good Hope, $21 Aristia, Night’s Watch, $26 Debt Agent, Harlem, $31 Gailo Chop, $41 Suzuka Devious, Life Less Ordinary.