Saturday’s G1 Caulfield Stakes in Melbourne
Godolphin’s best-performed Australian galloper Hartnell retains all the qualities he has shown over several seasons and is ready to produce them in Saturday’s G1 Caulfield Stakes in Melbourne.
A winner at Caulfield first-up back in September, Hartnell has finished second at G1 level at his past two runs – firstly behind Humidor over 1600m in the Makybe Diva Stakes and then at 1800m in the Underwood Stakes by Bonneval.
On Saturday he gets out to 2000m and despite again being opposed by Bonneval, trainer James Cummings is satisfied the horse is at his peak.
“He looks to be in the best condition of his whole preparation,” Cummings said.
“We’ve been a bit disappointed that he couldn’t win at his last two, but we haven’t been disappointed with his effort.
“At each of his past two runs there have been things that didn’t go his way and he still ran very well to finish second and on Saturday he’s getting out to 10 furlongs for the first time this prep.
“He’s had three runs to bring to his top and I’m delighted with where he’s at, he’s really blossomed since the Underwood Stakes.
“I think he’ll give himself every opportunity to turn the tables on what is obviously a very good mare.”
Hartnell is the winner of six races in Australia, including two of the country’s best middle-distance G1 races – the BMW and the Turnbull Stakes – and has earned almost A$4.5 million.
He has been placed in a G1 Cox Plate and G1 Melbourne Cup as well as being the best competitor faced by world-champion mare Winx having finished second to her four times during her 21-win sequence.
Hartnell meets a multi-national group at Caulfield including the Irish pair Riven Light, Johannes Vermeer and Taj Mahal, the classy New Zealanders Jon Snow and Bonneval and the former French runner Gailo Chop.
He is to be ridden for the first time by Glyn Schofield.
The colts Kementari and Sanctioned are primed for career-best performances in Saturday’s G1 Caulfield Guineas, a race that features prominently in the Australian operations of Godolphin and Darley, and their founder Sheikh Mohammed.
The two James Cummings-trained runners will be attempting to repeat the victories of Long John in 2013, of Helmet two years earlier, who both carried Sheikh Mohammed’s colours, and of Lonhro, now a Darley stallion, who won a vintage renewal in 2001.
For Kementari (Damian Lane), the Guineas comes at the third run of a preparation that is full of promise.
The son of Lonhro has raced twice this time in, finishing third in the G3 Guineas Prelude last time out, and Cummings is satisfied his preparation has been faultless.
“He’s had a really attractive grounding for the 1600m third-up and I loved his Guineas trial in the Prelude when he warmed to the task late in the race,” Cummings said.
“I thought it was a beautiful trial.”
Before that, Kementari raced well when fourth to Menari in the G2 Run To The Rose over a 1200m trip he found too short.
“This is the race we’ve set him for and he’s ready to run well despite coming up with a slightly tricky barrier,” his trainer said.
“The race has brought together a field of very good colts and a filly who has very good form, but that’s what you expect in a Guineas and I think he has the quality and the form to be in there with them.”
Sanctioned (Glyn Schofield) comes to the race after finishing fourth last start in the G1 Spring Champion Stakes at Randwick last Saturday.
While Cummings acknowledges the preparation is less- than traditional, he believes the Teofilo colt will handle it.
“He’s a horse who copes with his racing really well,” he said.
“From a wide barrier in the Champion Stakes last Saturday he got back in a slowly-run race and motored home well from the back of the field, which isn’t his pattern.
“The good thing is that he’s got form around all the important horses and I like it that he’s coming back to 1600m here.”