Hartnell Skips Winx Clash in Turnbull Stakes 2017

Caulfield Cup-bound Hartnell will avoid another encounter with super mare Winx in the 2017 Turnbull Stakes this October.

Hartnell

Hartnell races in the 2017 Underwood Stakes over a Turnbull Stakes title defense where he would face Winx in Melbourne this October. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos.

Godolphin have the in-form Authorized import Hartnell in outstanding form this season with the seven-year-old heading towards the Group 1 $3 million Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 21.

Last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival Hartnell enjoyed plenty of success including a Flemington win in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) where he smashed subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Jameka by over three lengths.

A chance at enjoying back-to-back Turnbull Stakes wins for the first time since Vo Rogue (1987-88) however was taken off the cards before news Chris Waller’s dual Cox Plate champion Winx is to race next-up in this year’s edition on October 7.

Winx heads towards a shot at joining Kingston Town (1980-82) with a third successive Cox Plate trophy in the Ladbrokes-sponsored classic on October 28.

She made history in the weight-for-age championship last year defeating Hartnell by a record eight length winning margin and is odds-on in futures Cox Plate betting at Ladbrokes.com.au to defend her title again.

Hartnell has had his fair share of losses behind Winx having faced the now 13-time Group 1 winner on seven occasions.

The latest was his second in April’s Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) and Godolphin’s new head trainer James Cummings is keen to avoid another run in with the Hall of Famer.

Cummings however told Sky Racing Radio that the stable had already locked in a run in the Group 1 $750,000 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield Racecourse on Sunday October 1 before Winx was announced as a Turnbull Stakes contender the following weekend.

“We booked Kerrin McEvoy to ride the horse in the Underwood on Monday,” Cummings said.

“It was interesting to find out Winx is running in the Turnbull against Humidor.

“I think it’s just a matter of plotting the path we think suits the horse and I think he’ll run very well in the Underwood.”

The Turnbull Stakes has proved the Caulfield Cup form race to follow in recent years producing five of the eight winners from 2009-2016.

First-up this time in Hartnell caught the eye at Caulfield with a dominant two and a quarter-length win in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m).

He raced again at Flemington last Saturday jumping odds-on favourite ($1.75) in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m), only to go down in a shock three length loss to the Darren Weir-trained Humidor.

Teofilo five-year-old Humidor has subsequently rocketed to the top of the Caulfield Cup betting markets paying $6 for the win, while Hartnell is out to $9 to win the mile and a half classic.

“I wouldn’t say it [the Caulfield Cup] is the target but we are strongly considering it with the news that there is no penalty for the Melbourne Cup if we also wanted to go that way,” Cummings said.

“There are still plenty of options on the table for Hartnell and he’ll be telling us with the sort of form that he has got deeper on into the spring.”

Should he go the Caulfield Cup path, Hartnell will be running in the event for the first time.

Last year he backed-up from the Cox Plate second to Winx with a brave third behind Almandin in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) over the two miles at Flemington.

The previous spring he ran sixth in the Turnbull Stakes, fifth in the Cox Plate and 15th to Weir’s $101 roughie Melbourne Cup winner Prince Of Penzance in the 2016 edition of the ‘race that stops a nation’.

Weir meanwhile was quick to react to the Winx next race news confirming they weren’t changing plans with Humidor who will still tackle the Turnbull Stakes on way to the Caulfield Cup.

Winx has opened at $1.18 in futures Turnbull Stakes betting, while Humidor is the $6 second favourite already boasting two Group 1 Flemington wins.

To back Hartnell next race at the right price and to access to Winx odds in the Turnbull Stakes 2017 visit Ladbrokes.com.au.

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