All the money in the 2016 Hill Stakes betting markets for this Saturday at Royal Randwick is on the John O’Shea-trained Hartnell to continue his winning ways in the George Main Stakes Day feature.
Running as Randwick Race 5 at 2:35pm (AEST), this year’s $200,000 Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) field is down to just seven runners after the scratching of the Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young-trained Group 1 winner Tavago.
That leaves only six rivals for in-form Godolphin galloper Hartnell to defeat third-up, the Authorized six-year-old at $1.45 and firming in the latest Hill Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
Drawn originally in barrier five, he moves into four with James McDonald retaining the ride after the duo won the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) by a commanding 7.8 lengths at the track over a mile a fortnight back.
Hartnell is also a dual winner over the increased Hill Stakes distance, which he last saw when fifth to champion mare Winx in Melbourne’s Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) last October.
He chased her home first-up this spring for his second in the Warwick Stakes, and after the win next start he should be peaking this weekend as the odds-on fancy.
Two other runners are under $10 for the win with the rails-drawn Magic Hurricane ($9) and the Chris Waller-trained Preferment ($8.50.
Stablemate to the favourite, the fellow O’Shea-trained Magic Hurricane has Brenton Avdulla aboard on Saturday after the duo ran third under a hefty 61kg at Rosehill in the Listed Premier’s Cup (1900m) last time out.
On Saturday seven-year-old Hurricane Run gelding Magic Hurricane drops to 59kg at weight-for-age and is out to return to the form that saw him win the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) last spring on the back of a Hill Stakes second.
He was beaten home by one in this race 12 months ago by Preferment, Waller’s reigning champ back to defend his title in 2016.
Top hoop Hugh Bowman rides the now five-year-old Zabeel stallion, Preferment second-up after his fourth in the Chelmsford Stakes on September 3.
His last win was at Rosehill in late March when defeating fellow Hill Stakes rivals this weekend and stablemates Who Shot Thebarman (2nd) and Grand Marshal (3rd) – both Group 1 winners over two miles – in the Group 1 The BMW (2400m).
That followed on from his Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) protest win over Awesome Rock at Flemington, so at his best form Preferment is a livewire chance at an upset this Saturday.
Waller’s three other runners Storm The Stars ($12), Who Shot Thebarman ($14) and Grand Marshal ($15) follow in the markets before 2016 Melbourne Cup fancy Signoff ($26) for Darren Weir rounds out betting.
See below for the full Hill Stakes 2016 betting odds, Fixed Win prices open now at Ladbrokes.com.au who have the top George Main Stakes offer running for this weekend!