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Trainer James Cummings has revealed that star galloper Hartnell will complete a Flemington barrier trial on Friday, before a likely first-up run in the Group 2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 19th.
Hartnell has been a standout throughout his entire racing career so far and was the only horse to go close to Winx during the 2016 Spring Carnival; running second to the equine superstar in both the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m).
Cummings is yet to saddle the Authorized gelding competitively, but told RSN that he has been blown away by the horse’s ability and will allow his form and condition dictate both his spring Launchpad and path this time in.
“He’s great,” Cummings said.
“He’s going to have a jump-out on Friday at Flemington and we will progress from there.
“I would like to think that we know what to expect from him in the jump-out and if he can continue to please us the way he has the last month, then I think we should be in for a good campaign.”
Hartnell began his racing career under the guidance of notable British trainer Mark Johnston in 2013 and has subsequently posted ten wins and eleven minors throughout his thirty-two competitive starts.
Taking plenty of benefit from his first-up second in the Warwick Stakes last spring, Hartnell posted consecutive wins in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m); defeating subsequent Caulfield Cup winner Jameka by close to four lengths in the latter.
Returning to the paddock after finishing third in the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m), Hartnell resumed this year for second behind Winx in the Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m), but failed to fire when eighth in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) a fortnight later.
Running well for second behind wet track specialist Our Ivanhowe in the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m), Hartnell was last seen finishing second to Winx in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m) on April 8th.
Hartnell is currently considered a $17 shot in early 2017 Caulfield Cup betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
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