Hartnell romps home in the Turnbull Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)
There will be owners and trainers all over the country awaiting the news on where Hartnell goes next after the imported horse trounced his rivals in the group 1 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.
Owners with Caulfield Cup horses are hoping Sheikh Mohammed’s class galloper goes to the Cox Plate and owners of Cox Plate horses (including those of Winx) may be hoping he runs at Caulfield in two weeks instead. But, for trainer John O’Shea, it’s up to his boss to make the final decision.
“I think he’ll be pretty competitive wherever he goes,” O’Shea said after Hartnell had run clear for a three-and-a-quarter length victory to record O’Shea’s first group 1 win in Melbourne as Godolphin Australia’s head trainer.
“The 55 kilograms he’s got in the Caulfield Cup looks pretty inviting and the Caulfield Cup favourite (Jameka, who ran second) was left in his wake there,” O’Shea said.
“But the three weeks into the Cox Plate also looks good for him and it could set him up to run in the Melbourne Cup.”
Godolphin’s six-year-old Authorized gelding settled fifth, one off the fence, and ambled up to the leaders on the home turn under a tight hold from James McDonald.
Hartnell has now won his past three races, the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m), Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) and Group 1 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes, by an aggregate margin of 16.9 lengths.
O’Shea could look back on the spring and find the Turnbull was crucial to his carnival fortunes as not only did Hartnell stamp himself as a super horse but stablemate Tally firmly established his Caulfield Cup credentials with his third placing.
“He did it pretty tough on pace and I really liked the way he fought it out. With 51.5 kilograms, he looks pretty well treated now for a race like the Caulfield Cup,” O’Shea said.
Last-start Group 3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) winner Jameka followed Hartnell’s every move but was no match, finishing second. Ciaron Maher’s Crown Oaks winner was the only runner besides Hartnell to break 46 seconds for her final 800 metres.
Happy Trails, who finished fifth, will go straight to the Cox Plate.
“I'm very happy with his run, he was a long way back on the home turn but he keeps coming home and proving his worth at this level,” trainer Paul Beshara said.
Last year’s Turnbull winner Preferment also showed he was nearing his best when he ran on into fourth placing.
The upgrading of the track to a good 3 after handful of races saw Our Ivanhowe drift out to $21 by race time and the noted wet-tracker ran accordingly finishing eighth.