Godolphin trainer John O’Shea will send Hartnell to Melbourne for his next start after reviewing the spring programs of his three top weight-for-age horses following their performances in Sydney and Melbourne last Saturday.
Chelmsford Stakes winner Complacent will stay in Sydney for two more lead-up races to the Caulfield Cup while Hartnell will join Contributer in the WS Cox Plate before running in the Melbourne Cup.
O’Shea revealed his plans for the trio through the Godolphin website in a review of a memorable weekend that has been rated one of the best the global stable after their horses won 13 races in five different countries.
Hartnell was strongly favoured to win the Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) first-up from a spell last Saturday but it was stablemate Complacent, second-up after almost two years away from racing, that sprung the first big upset of the spring carnival with his all-the-way win.
O’Shea says his Melbourne plans for Hartnell call for the import to have a Sydney barrier trial before heading south for his next start in the G1 Turnbull Stakes over 2000m at Flemington on October 4.
“Then it’s the Cox Plate and the Melbourne Cup for him,” he added.
This will leave Complacent clear to keep running in Sydney at Randwick in the Hill Stakes (2000m) on September 19 and Craven Plate (2000m) on October 3 before he contests the Caulfield Cup (2400m) on October 17.
The Caulfield Cup will be Complacent’s grand final with O’Shea reporting he is happy to miss the Melbourne Cup with the five-year-old this year.
“I do not want to overtax him this preparation as he was such a long time off through injury,” O’Shea explained on the Godolphin blog.
“I would like to run him next in the Hill Stakes and the Craven Plate before Melbourne. He’s got 53kg in the Caulfield Cup and that’s an inviting weight.”
O’Shea suggested BMW winner Hartnell needs to race with cover in his races, in contrast to last Saturday when he was left facing the breeze on the pace before finishing fourth.
O’Shea has also reassessed Contributer’s first-up fifth in last Saturday’s Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes at Moonee Valley.
“Overall, I think it was a nice start. It was a combination of a lot of things that saw him finish fifth,” O’Shea reported.
“He got back on the inside and had to bullock his way out but I was happy enough.
“Our aim is to have him peaking on October 24 for the Cox Plate. He will run next in the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield on September 26.”
O’Shea played his part in Godolphin’s successful weekend, winning three races on Saturday comprising a double at Randwick and one win at Newcastle.
Godolphin also won six races in the UK on Saturday, two Group 2 races in Turkey on Sunday plus wins in Ireland and America.