Hart to fly Aussie flag

The Sportsman Special Issue - - 60 - BY MATT JONES

GODOL­PHIN’S best Aus­tralian horse Hart­nell has been handed the top weight for this year’s Caulfield Cup while the Ai­dan O’Brien-trained Or­der Of St Ge­orge will have to do what few have to win the Mel­bourne Cup.

The Euro­pean raider was given 58kg in the fa­mous two mile event and will aim to de­liver a sixth vic­tory in the race for Hall of Fame owner Lloyd Wil­liams.

The Ir­ish-bred five-year- old jus­ti­fied his weight when beat­ing Torce­dor by nine lengths in Sun­day’s Ir­ish St Leger at the Cur­ragh.

Last year’s Mel­bourne Cup win­ner Al­mandin will carry 56.5kg, while the

Dar­ren Weir-trained duo Ad­mire Deus and Aus­tralian Cup

(2000m) win­ner Hu­mi­dor, have both been al­lo­cated 56kg.

Hart­nell will be the main hope of the lo­cals in the Caulfield Cup, but a coun­try gal­loper may give him a run for his money, just like he did in the Queen El­iz­a­beth Stakes ear­lier this year.

Group 1 Doomben Cup win­ner Sense Of Oc­ca­sion has been al­lot­ted 55.5kg for the 2400m Caulfield Cup and trainer Kris Lees said he’ll space his runs and give him a start in ei­ther the Ep­son Hand­i­cap or Hill Stakes on Septem­ber 30 at Rand­wick.

“I thought he’d get a lit­tle less weight but he’s right in it and is go­ing as well as ever,” Lees said.

“He al­most ran down Hart­nell in the Queen El­iz­a­beth and I was sur­prised at

Lees, who had favourite Lu­cia Valentina in the 2014 Caulfield Cup, wasn’t too con­cerned about the amount of tal­ent com­ing down from the north­ern hemi­sphere.

The in­ter­na­tional raiders are stack­ing the race more and more each year and al­ways come down to Aus­tralia with mas­sive rep­u­ta­tions.

“There’s more of them and they’re get­ting bet­ter but I think you’ve just got to think of your own horse,” Lees said.

“Some years they’re not as strong and any­thing can hap­pen. Look at Prince Of Pen­zance.”

The New­cas­tle trainer told pun­ters not to worry about his run­ner’s first-up run in the Chelmsford Stakes which was turned on its head by a front run­ning Josh Parr ride on Red Ex­cite­ment which put Sense Of Oc­ca­sion out of his com­fort zone.

“He got caught too far for­ward that day and it was a funny race,” Lees said.

“I wouldn’t worry about that and I’m ex­pect­ing him to run much bet­ter sec­ond-up. It prob­a­bly looked like it wasn’t a great run but that’s just the way the race was.”

Hart­nell has 58kg for the Caulfield Cup and the only orig­i­nal top weight to win the race was Du­naden in 2012.

“Hart­nell proved he was one of the best horses in the world in the Turn­bull Stakes, and his other Group 1 win came in the 2400m BMW Stakes in April 2015,” Rac­ing Vic­to­ria’s chief hand­i­cap Greg Car­pen­ter said.

“His win­ning re­turn in the P.B. Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield last month was very im­pres­sive, so he is ide­ally suited to the Caulfield Cup and is a wor­thy top weight.”


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