The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Godolphin trainer James Cummings could send Hartnell into another clash with the world’s best mare Winx next-up in the Chipping Norton Stakes following an impressive first-up win in the 2018 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes.
A seven-year-old son of Authorized, Hartnell enjoyed his third elite level win since arriving down under in 2015 proving too good late in a gutsy Caulfield victory in the Group 1 $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m).
“He’s an absolute treasure to train,” Cummings said post-win.
“This is the horse’s third Group 1 since arriving here and of course he’s been the sparring partner to some pretty good horses.”
It was the same track and distance Hartnell won the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) over fresh by over two lengths in the spring.
Proving his class and how good a horse he really is, Hartnell was also coming back from a failed Melbourne Cup (20th) bid from November and came into the C.F. Orr Stakes off a solid trial at Warwick Farm nine days prior.
“To produce such a big effort like that was impressive,” Cummings added.
“The horse dug deep and returned so well.
“He proved to me last preparation that he’s capable of winning fresh.
“He’s been able to use the best of what Godolphin operation have put together.
“I hope it’s a good sign for a big autumn carnival to come.”
Jockey Craig Williams, also on for the P.B. Lawrence win fresh last August, was full of post-race praise for the C.F. Orr Stakes winner who came back in impressive style again.
“He looked fantastic,” Williams said after the win.
“I was really impressed when I saw him in the yard.
“He got a bit upset I the gates…he went back and he was slow.
“I had to be firm with him a fair way out, thank goodness he lifted, the quality of horse that he is.
“These good horses can do it [come back and win a sprint fresh off a Melbourne Cup spring campaign].”
On the line Hartnell ($6) had just a short-head to spare over Nick Olive’s incredibly versatile mare Single Gaze ($19) who was also first-up off a Spring Cups campaign when second in the Caulfield Cup and 17th in the ‘Race That Stops a Nation’.
In third rounding out the incredibly tight C.F. Orr Stakes trifecta only a nose further back was The Everest third-placed Japanese import Brave Smash ($9.50), improving on first-up fifth in the Group 2 Australia Stakes (1200m), for last year’s winning trainer Darren Weir.
Weir had to scratch the reigning champ Black Heart Bart the day before the race with a hoof issue and also saddled-up the beaten favourite Tosen Stardom ($4) who ran a disappointing 11th after racing three deep throughout.
The Lindsay Park-trained Australia Stakes winner and C.F. Orr Stakes pacesetter Thronum meanwhile held for fourth having held the lead up until the final furlong.
Cummings surprised many by saying upcoming autumn racing plans for Hartnell could see him head to Sydney second-up on March 3 to take on a resuming Winx in the Group 1 $600,000 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Royal Randwick.
“I had a funny feeling if he was to return as good as that we could target a Chipping Norton with him second-up and have the fit horse on the scene,” Cummings said.
“I do like the idea of keeping him fresh.
“I’m not locking in any plans today as we don’t want to disappoint anyone.
“I’m just very, very proud to see him return as good as that.”
Hartnell has faced Winx seven times including his fifth to her in the 2016 Chipping Norton Stakes and eighth in the same race last year.
His best results against Chris Waller’s superstar were the Cox Plate second in 2016 when thrashed eight lengths and his second last April behind her in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
All-in Chipping Norton Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au have Winx as the $1.15 favourite.
To back Hartnell next race and for access to all the autumn’s best racing odds and offers, visit Ladbrokes.com.au today.
2018 C.F. Orr Stakes Results & Finishing Order
Caulfield Race 8 – 10/02/2018
|1||1||HARTNELL (GB)||James Cummings||Craig Williams||–||11||59kg||$6|
|2||10||SINGLE GAZE||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||0.1L||1||57kg||$19|
|3||4||BRAVE SMASH (JPN)||Darren Weir||John Allen||0.2L||5||59kg||$9.50|
|4||8||THRONUM||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||Mark Zahra||0.3L||7||59kg||$10|
|5||5||LORD OF THE SKY||Robbie Laing||Damien Oliver||0.7L||9||59kg||$51|
|6||12||ABBEY MARIE||Michael Kent||Luke Nolen||0.8L||3||57kg||$31|
|7||14||MIGHTY BOSS||Mick Price||Michael Walker||0.9L||4||55.5kg||$11|
|8||7||MR SNEAKY||Anthony Freedman||Kerrin McEvoy||1.2L||12||59kg||$9|
|9||9||DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR||Tony McEvoy||Jamie Kah||1.3L||6||59kg||$16|
|10||11||SHILLELAGH (NZ)||Chris Waller||Michael Dee||2.3L||2||57kg||$10|
|11||3||TOSEN STARDOM (JPN)||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||2.4L||13||59kg||$4F|
|12||13||JESTER HALO||Darren Kolpin||Ms Christine Puls||3.15L||8||57kg||$101|
|13||6||TSHAHITSI||Chris Crook & Imogen Miller||Brendon McCoull||3.45L||10||59kg||$16|
|–||2||BLACK HEART BART||Darren Weir||Brad Rawiller||–||0||–||–|
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