The 2016 The Metropolitan nominations have been released and the in-form Hartnell has been included in the initial entries for the Group 1 event that will be held at Royal Randwick on October 1.
Hartnell failed to fire during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival and he only had one run in the autumn, but he has been in outstanding form this spring.
He returned to the races with a second place finish behind Winx in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 20 and he has since recorded dominant victories in both the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick on September 3 and the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at the same venue a fortnight later.
John O’Shea is yet to decide what path Hartnell will follow during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival, with The Metropolitan, Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m), Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) and Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) all potentially on the agenda.
Magic Hurricane won The Metropolitan last year and he will be given the chance to defend his title, while Godolphin have also included the consistent Allergic in the nominations for the Group 1 event.
Another trainer with multiple horses in The Metropolitan nominations is Chris Waller, who last won the race with Opinion in 2014 following the disqualification of Junoob.
Hill Stakes runner-up Who Shot Thebarman will likely lead the Waller charge in The Metropolitan and he could be joined in the race by stablemates Antonio Giuseppe, Grand Marshal, Junoob, Sacred Master, Spiritjim and Storm The Stars.
One of the most interesting horses in The Metropolitan nominations is Victoria Derby winner Tarzino.
The Caulfield Cup was set to be the major spring target for Tarzino, but trainer Mick Price is keeping his options open with the Rosehill Guineas winner that failed to fire in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) last start.
Other horses that have been included in The Metropolitan nominations are Macedon Lodge-owned Almandin, Doomben Cup winner Our Ivanhowe, Newcastle Gold Cup winner Sacred Master, Japanese import The Bandit, the quirky Tom Melbourne and Darren Weir-trained Zanteca.
Betting markets for The Metropolitan and all the other major races during the 2016 Spring Racing Carnival are now available with leading online bookmaker Ladbrokes.com.au.