Hartnell’s brilliant win in the Group 2 $200,000 Ascend Sales Trophies Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick last Saturday has cemented his spot at the top of the 2016 Caulfield Cup betting.
The John O’Shea trained Hartnell is now the $8 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au for the Group 1 $3m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 15 following his five and three quarter lengths win in the Hill Stakes.
Last Saturday’s win was the second time in as many starts that Hartnell scored a runaway win after careering away from his rivals on a heavy track to record a seven and three quarter lengths win in the Group 2 $250,000 Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on September 3,
O’Shea is eyeing off the Caulfield Cup but concedes that a hard racing surface in Melbourne would go against the English import who has won five of his nine wins on rain affected ground.
“I think his best chance to win a major G1 is in the Caulfield Cup, but Caulfield can get very firm and he doesn’t like that rock hard ground,” O’Shea said.
“We’d like to keep him in Sydney for as long as we can because he gets the wonderful advantage of being at Osborne Park with the team of people who look after him. They do a wonderful job.”
“He’s put together two nice performances, he’s in a good frame of mind.”
Hartnell is now likely to step out in the Group 1 $750,000 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick in two weeks time before heading to Melbourne for the Caulfield Cup.
The Hills Stakes was Hartnell’s third Spring Carnival run after kicking off his campaign when second to Chris Waller’s super mare Winx in the Group 2 $250,000 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Randwick on August 20.
Hartnell won’t clash again with Winx in the Spring unless O’Shea has a change of mind and runs the six year old in the Group 1 $3m Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley on October 22.
Hartnell was no match for Winx in the 2015 Cox Plate when he finished fifth, ten and a quarter lengths behind the weight for age champion mare.
The Ciaron Maher trained Jameka put herself back into contention for the Caulfield Cup with a very impressive win in the Group 3 $150,000 Bendigo Bank East Malvern MRC Foundation Cup (Naturalism Stakes) (2000m) at Caulfield last Saturday.
Jameka is now on the second line of betting at $9 ahead the three European stayers, Exopshere and Scottish at $13 and Highland Reel at $15.
Early market order for the Caulfield Cup at Ladbrokes.com.au: $8 Hartnell, $9 Jameka, $13 Exopshere, Scottish, $15 Highland Reel, $17 Our Ivanhowe, Tarzino, The United States, $21 Articus, Hauraki, He’s Our Rokkii, Tavago, $26 Idaho, Preferment, Set Square, Sofia Rosa, Tosen Stardom.