The former UK-trained stayer Hartnell returned to the form that earned him G1 honours in Australia and Royal Ascot success in England with a stunning victory that has thrust him into the mix for some of Australia’s best Spring races.
Hartnell (John O’Shea/James McDonald) annihilated his opposition in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes at Randwick on Saturday, September 3, scoring by almost eight lengths, and convincing his trainer to attempt a repeat of his G1 Metropolitan Handicap success of last season.
And on an outstanding day for Godolphin at Randwick, Hauraki (John O’Shea/James McDonald) scored a dominant win in the G2 Tramway Stakes.
O’Shea will now press on to the G2 Hill Stakes at Randwick in a fortnight with Hartnell before consideration is given to the Metropolitan.
“The Metropolitan has always been his aim but there are a few options, but it is dependent on the weight he gets,” O’Shea said.
“The idea is to keep him in Sydney because he likes to get his toe in the ground and he is more likely to get a softer track in Sydney than Melbourne.”
After weighing up the situation further overnight, O’Shea said the original plan is still in place.
O’Shea explained that the key to Hartnell is to have him relaxed early in a race, as he was on Saturday.
“The first furlong is very important for him – get him to relax – as he has an electric turn of foot,” he said.
While O’Shea pondered Hartnell’s future, winning rider James McDonald revelled in the present.
“I was rapt with his first up run when he was second to Winx and he has built on that. He’s in for a great campaign,” McDonald said.
“He’s strengthened up, he’s a proper horse, he’s walking around relaxed, he’s travelling spot on.”
Hartnell took control of the race at the 400m, extending his lead with every stride in the run to the line, leaving Grand Marshal to win the battle for second place over Storm The Stars.
Hauraki joined the winning celebrations with a return to form that offers the promise of a well-deserved G1 win.
A G2 winner at three before finishing a close second in the 2015 G1 Australian Derby, Hauraki had been placed a further six times at stakes level before his Tramway win.
The son of Reset will focus on shorter races this preparation with the G1 Epsom Handicap his goal.
“He ran into pretty fair horses during the Autumn and in Queensland so we switched things around this preparation,” O’Shea said.
“He has moved out to Osborne Park and we have put some speed into his legs – we took the blinkers off and it was very effective – he will be competitive in the Epsom and will get James’ weight which is ideal,” O’Shea said.
Beaten for early speed, Hauraki settled among the tailenders with McDonald bringing him to the outside entering the straight and the mowing down the opposition to score decisively from Le Romain and Dibayani.
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