Hartnell Heads to Melbourne for Godolphin
The Spring campaign of Godolphin’s established Australian star Hartnell began taking a firmer shape this week with the horse’s arrival in Melbourne where he is due to race exclusively during this latest preparation.
Head trainer James Cummings spoke with both confidence and enthusiasm about Hartnell’s latest campaign that is due to begin in the G2 P B Lawrence Stakes over 1400m at Caulfield on August 19.
While it is expected that Hartnell will race well over a trip that is short of his best, Cummings is looking forward to moving on to longer races to follow at Flemington.
“It is hard to go past his electric form at Flemington last Spring, particularly his effortless G1 victory over Jameka in the Turnbull Stakes,” Cummings said.
The Turnbull, a race in which the six-year-old trounced the subsequent G1 Caulfield Cup winner Jameka by 3-1/2 lengths in 2016, is again a major goal, with the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes, also at Flemington, another target.
“At this stage he will campaign exclusively in Melbourne, but the option will always be there to whip him back to Sydney if we decide to bypass the Turnbull and run in the Craven Plate at Randwick,” Cummings said.
The trainer believes a relatively light Autumn workload has Hartnell primed for the Spring.
“He has returned in good shape and is very fresh in himself. He had only four starts during a very wet Autumn carnival,” he said.
“He’s arrived in Melbourne and settled in this week. He’ll trial at Flemington on Friday week and will be ready to resume in the Lawrence and the Makybe Diva and he can run well in both of them.”
As well as winning the Turnbull last Spring, Hartnell also finished second in the Cox Plate and third in the Melbourne Cup, returning in the Autumn to be runner up in Sydney’s richest race, the G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
The gelded son of Authorized was duly elevated to equal fifth in the latest international racehorse rankings and begins this preparation as the second-highest ranked Australian galloper behind Winx.