It is shaping up as a big day for racing powerhouse Godolphin on Day 2 of The Championships in Sydney this weekend with the team saddling up a number of Royal Randwick favourites including Hartnell in the Sydney Cup 2015.
Godolphin and their private trainer John O’Shea have another top import Contriubter coming off back-to-back Group 1 wins this Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival and set to jump favourite in the major race on Saturday’s card, the $4 million Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
In the meeting’s major staying showdown they are also represented by the current punters’ pick with Hartnell sitting top of the Ladbrokes.com.au odds for the $1.6 million Group 1 Schweppes Sydney Cup (3200m).
The fields for Day 2 of The Championships for the four Group 1 features are all well below capacity including in the Sydney Cup that attracted just a dozen stayers.
Hartnell, who like his stablemate Contributer also comes off multiple wins, has drawn midfield in gate seven with last year’s Sydney Cup winning jockey Tommy Berry to ride.
The in-form Authorized four-year-old sits top of the Sydney Cup odds at a firming $2.60, in from $2.80 already, and was last seen winning the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) at Rosehill on March 28.
The BMW last produced a Sydney Cup winner three years ago when Niwot (2012) ran fourth in the lead-up to his two mile success as a seven-year-old.
Before The BMW, Hartnell won the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (2000m) a fortnight earlier that followed his first-up second to Contriubter in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) in February.
On Saturday he runs at Randwick Racecourse for the first time, but he looks well equipped to handle the challenge and score successive Group 1 victories.
Favourites have a gun record in the Sydney Cup with six saluting in the past decade, including The Offer (9/4) last year so the statistics are in Hartnell’s favour this weekend.
Three of Hartnell’s rivals are also at single figures to win on Saturday including the $4.50 second favourite Who Shot Thebarman for the state’s premier trainer Chris Waller.
The former Auckland Cup winner has been backed in from $4.80 already with Blake Shinn to ride from barrier 10, which most recently produced a Sydney Cup winner in 2010 with Jessicabeel who was also the last mare to beat home the boys in the two mile classic.
Waller has won just the one Sydney Cup back in 2011 with Stand To Gain, a 20/1 roughie, and will be hoping to do it again with a better fancied hope this year.
A proven two miler, Yamanin Vital six-year-old Who Shot Thebarman was third to Protectionist in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over this distance in Melbourne during the spring and has had three promising runs this time in.
His latest was a fourth to Hartnell when beaten two lengths in The BMW, form he is tipped to improve on when up in distance for the Cup.
The other two hopes under $10 in the Sydney Cup betting markets are then Kris Lees’ reigning Melbourne Cup winner Protectionist ($5.50) who carries the 58kg top weight here and triple Melbourne Cup runner-up Red Cadeaux ($8).
Former German-trained Monsun stallion Protectionist is after his first win since taking out the world’s richest handicap last November, his latest run being an improving fifth when 2.2 lengths off Hartnell in The BMW.
Veteran British raider Red Cadeaux meanwhile jumps wide from barrier 12 this weekend, the Ed Dunlop-trained nine-year-old last seen finishing fifth in the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 14 ahead of his Sydney race debut.
At longer odds but not without claims then include the likes of the still officially Hong Kong-trained Dominant ($15), coming via a fifth in the Ranvet Stakes who will stay on down under post-autumn, and 52kg lightweight Big Memory ($17) drawn in barriers five and one respectively.
See below for the full Sydney Cup 2015 odds courtesy of Ladbrokes.com.au who are again offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on all four Group 1s this weekend at Randwick!