Hartnell (Image: Racing Photos)
Hartnell, one of Godolphin's most popular gallopers throughout the world, will retire after he races in Saturday's $2 million Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes.
"He will retire as one of the most superior weight-for-age horses to ever race for Godolphin anywhere in the world," said Vin Cox, Godolphin's managing director in Australia.
Cox said in a note sent this week to every member of his Godolphin team: "Win or lose, this champion has given us all so much. He has nothing to prove on Saturday, but we all know he will give his all.
"We are all so lucky to have had an association with this great horse and he is a true inspiration to everyone at Godolphin."
Cox also announced that Hartnell will be cared for by Godolphin for the rest of his days.
"It has been decided that Hartnell will be the flag bearer for the Godolphin Lifetime Care program and remain in Godolphin's ownership," Cox said.
And the best of the very good care he receives will come from Reg Fleming, who for so long was Bart Cummings' number one man in Melbourne but is now Godolphin's senior foreman at Carbine Lodge - and Hartnell's most devoted fan.
Hartnell will join the former Cummings-trained performers Precedence and Sirmione, and the Godolphin runner Moher under Fleming's care.
For the record, the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes will be the 34th time the horse has contested a G1. He is searching for a 14th win on Saturday that would be his fifth at the top level and he'll undoubtedly add to more than $7 million in racetrack earnings.
Indeed, if Hartnell can win the Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes, he will finish his career as the ninth-highest prizemoney earner in Australian racing history.
Cox pointed out that the Maktoum family has raced more than 5200 individual horses since 1992 and none of them has won more Stakes races than Hartnell.
Hartnell was foaled on April 19, 2011 at Rutland Stud near Newmarket and went into training with Mark Johnston, racing initially in the colours of Sheikh Mohammed's son, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed al Maktoum.
Johnston had also trained Hartnell's dam, Debonnaire, who along with his sire Authorized, not only supplied a fine set of genes but the inspiration for his name, which is attributed to fashion designer Norman Hartnell, the authorised dressmaker to the Queen.
James Cummings sends Hartnell out for his final race on Saturday with a mixture of hope, confidence and admiration.
"He's come up every prep for us, he's been an absolutely amazing horse," he said.
"He's perhaps the most accomplished weight-for-age horse Godolphin has ever raced in Australia and he's an absolute credit to himself."