Numbers game says it’s tough for Hartnell
HARTNELL will fly in the face of a daunting record for 3200m runners when he resumes in the Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick today.
The BMW winner is expected to be one of Godolphin’s stars this spring.
Betting agencies marked him a clear favourite when markets opened for the Chelmsford after his two outstanding recent trials.
Hartnell announced himself in Australia with a ripping second to stablemate Contributer in the Chipping Nor- ton Stakes last autumn and then won his next two, before flopping as favourite in the Sydney Cup.
Having stretched to the marathon 3200m, Hartnell now needs to join an elite club to have won first-up off that trip. Since 2012, 226 horses have attempted the feat in Australia for only six winners. In Group races, the figure is three from 73.
Away from black type races, Bart Cummings’ Reigning was a shock $41 winner over 1400m in 2012 and the following August Tuscan Fire won at $101 first up after the Adelaide Cup.
Closer to home, Darren Bell managed the feat with Eight’s A Party, who was a $13 Sunshine Coast winner first up over 1200m after a Queensland Cup flop last December.
Trainer John O’Shea warned Hartnell may not be as forward for his first spring run as he was in the autumn.
“He’s trialled very well, but he’s a lot bigger than what he was first up last time,” O’Shea told RSN.
“I don’t think he will be as effective, but in saying that he has improved since last preparation and I’m sure he will run well.”
O’Shea said this run should give Hartnell the foundation to be a key player in the Underwood Stakes later in the month.
Chris Waller narrowed his 11 Chelmsford runners down to Kermadec and Royal Descent being his winning chances, in a race where he believes Pornichet and Hartnell are the only other realistic hopes.
“Kermadec has trained on well,’’ he said.
“I think he will really improve. He will clearly be in the finish with those others I mentioned.’’
Waller has identified winter raider Flamingo Star as a leading Epsom chance this season before his return in the Tramway Stakes this afternoon.
VANCOUVER has been ruled out of the Golden Rose next week, with trainer Gai Waterhouse opting to concentrate on the Caulfield Guineas, as she did with fellow Slipper winner Pierro in 2012.