The promising John O’Shea-trained import Hartnell is a dual nominee across two states for this Saturday’s racing including in the Sky High Stakes 2015 at Rosehill Gardens.
One of the six Group-rated support races on the Coolmore Classic Day program in Sydney this weekend, the $150,000 Group 3 McGrath Estate Agents Sky High Stakes (2000m) attracted 15 nominees on Monday.
A key entry in the set weights plus penalties showdown is Godolphin’s Authorized gelding Hartnell, the English expat having only debuted down under on February 28 at Warwick Farm.
There the four-year-old ran a half-length away second to fellow import and stable mate Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m).
Hartnell with either run in the Sky High Stakes in Sydney this weekend for his second Australian start or head to Melbourne for a shot at Flemington’s $1 million Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) as he heads towards the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on April 11 during The Championships.
The highest-rated of the Sky High Stakes nominees meanwhile is the Anthony Cummings-trained Fiveandahalfstar who has had just the two runs since April of 2013.
The Hotel Grand five-year-old, runner-up in both the 2013 Australian Cup in Melbourne and the Ranvet Stakes in Sydney one start later before winning that year’s The BMW over 2500m at Rosehill, was injured and missed over a year of racing before coming back on February 14 for a second last in the Group 3 Southern Cross Stakes (1200m) at Randwick.
His second resuming run was a 10th in the Chipping Norton Stakes but he was beaten under four lengths suggesting improvement as the proven stayer steps back up in distance.
Dominating the Sky High Stakes nominations numbers-wise is Sydney’s top trainer Chris Waller with an imposing six possible runners.
His headline entry is Auckland Cup winner and last year’s Melbourne Cup third placegetter Who Shot Thebarman.
He returned in the Chipping Norton Stakes over an unsuitably short distance, but was super impressive late with a fast-finishing fifth to run under a length and a half off the winner.
Also a part of Waller’s Sky High Stakes contingent is the likes of The Metropolitan winner last October Opinion who resumed with a Chipping Norton Stakes eighth and veteran eight-year-old Bagman.
A more promising chance in the race if accepted is the Tony McEvoy-trained Big Memory who comes via a close third in the Listed Victoria Cup (2000m) at Caulfield from February 28.
Other notable Sky High Stakes nominees this autumn include last year’s Queensland Derby winner Sonntag, last weekend’s Randwick City Stakes winner Phrases for Taree trainer Bindi Cheers and third in that same lead-up race Pajaro for Gai Waterhouse.
Check out the full Sky High Stakes 2015 nominations below, the field and barriers out tomorrow.
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2015 Sky High Stakes Nominations
Rosehill Racecourse – 14/03/2015
|2||HARTNELL (GB)||John O’Shea||2||55.5kg||109|
|3||WHO SHOT THEBARMAN (NZ)||Chris Waller||3||58kg||108|
|4||BEATEN UP (GB)||Chris Waller||4=||58kg||107|
|5||JUNOOB (GB)||Chris Waller||4=||56.5kg||107|
|7||OPINION (IRE)||Chris Waller||7||58kg||104|
|8||BIG MEMORY (FR)||Tony McEvoy||8||56.5kg||103|
|9||LIDARI (FR)||Peter G Moody||9||56.5kg||102|
|12||DISCLAIMER (GB)||Peter & Paul Snowden||12||55.5kg||97|
|14||PAJARO (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||14||55kg||83|
|15||INISHOWEN||Lee & Anthony Freedman||15||53kg||76|