Hartnell will be running in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick trying to cement a trip to Hong Kong for another race named for the monarch, and one he might find a little easier.
The Group One winner finds himself again playing second fiddle to Winx on Saturday, an all too familiar scenario.
He has yet to beat the champion mare but Godolphin trainer John O’Shea believes Hartnell is ready to peak in the 2000m Queen Elizabeth Stakes worth $4 million ahead of a possible trip to Hong Kong at the end of the month.
“We’re very happy. He’s been set for one race and he really looks to be coming to a nice peak,” O’Shea said.
“Obviously, he’ll have to take on Winx, but Hartnell will run the best race of his preparation.”
Ominously, trainer Chris Waller believes Winx is also at her peak as she heads to the final race of her autumn campaign looking for her 17th consecutive win.
Waller has dismissed the fuss over the synthetic hoof filler in Winx’s foot, preferring to concentrate on the important things.
“It’s a minor thing and one that just gives the farrier something to put a nail into when she is being shod,” Waller said.
“The main thing is to make sure she is physically well and bright and that we keep her safe.”
Keeping her safe and out of trouble in the race is the responsibility of Hugh Bowman and once she goes on to the track it’s just the two of them.
“She can be a bit fractious at the barriers,” Bowman said.
“So my job is to get her out and get her going into a good position and then let her do her thing.”
Her thing is to let down soon after the field straightens for home with a devastating and deceptive turn of foot that leaves her rivals scrambling.
“What she can do in the last 200 metres of a race is what sets her apart,” Waller said.
“She just extends and gets to the line.”
Winx is at $1.10 to get to the line first with Hartnell the second favourite at $12.
Article from JustHorseRacing.com.au