The Godolphin British import is nominated for both the Australian Cup and Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill this Saturday and will accept for both races on Wednesday. Trainer John O’Shea will then analyse both races’ fields and barrier draws before making a decision.
Hartnell is one of 37 horses nominated for the 2015 Australian Cup, which includes the likes of Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) winner Protectionist, cult favourite The Cleaner, and Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) winner Contributer.
The gelding will carry 58.5kg in the race, a three kilogram swing than in the 2015 Sky High Stakes. There are 15 horses nominated for the Rosehill supporting race including Chris Waller’s Who Shot Thebarman, Group 1 The BMW (2400m) winner Fiveandahalfstar, and Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) winner Opinion.
“We will certainly accept in both states and have a good look at the races,” O’Shea told TVN.
“We know it’s going to be a hard-run race in Melbourne and I’m mindful he’d be going into the 2000-metre race there second up, after being so good first up here.
“We think he’s gone on very well and I would actually prefer he drew a bit wide than close to the fence in the Australian Cup.
“The horse likes room to gallop.”
If Hartnell were to run in the Sky High Stakes he would have the advantage of not having to travel interstate. The British import had his first Australian start on February 28 in the Chipping Norton Stakes, finishing half a length off Contributer in second place.
The gelding was second last in the field up until the 600m, at which point he steered between runners rounding the home turn and got a split at the 200m, going to third on passing the 100m before battled on gamely.
Hartnell has placed in 10 of his 15 career starts, which includes winning over two miles last July in the Listed Queen’s Vase (3219m) at Royal Ascot.
Final fields for both the Australian Cup and Sky High Stakes will be released on Wednesday morning, after which O’Shea will make a decision regarding Hartnell.
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