Champion jockey Hugh Bowman has taken the opportunity to reunite with grand performer Hartnell as the spring action starts to wind up with the group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
With Sydney yet to move from winter racing into a better offering, Bowman has taken the chance to team with progressive Godolphin three-year-olds Pin Sec and Bivouac and “a great horse” in Hartnell, which has a super first-up record when put over the Caulfield 1400m.
Hartnell dives through the centre to win the C.F Orr Stakes first up at Caulfield last year.Credit:AAP
Now a nine-year-old, Hartnell has time and age against him but he won the group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes first-up at Caulfield last year. Two years ago, he won the Lawrence and was narrowly beaten in the race last year by Showtime when he didn’t have a lot of luck.
“His win in the Epsom [last year] in track record time was one of the most memorable I have had,” Bowman said. “He just keeps turning up every year. Ever since he has been here [in Australia] he has been a great horse. You know what you are going to get.”
Hartnell's record at Caulfield of two wins and five placings, with three of those placings at group 1 level, has seen him well supported from $6 to $4.20 in a race where Tasmanian four-year-old mare Mystic Journey, which won the Australian Guineas and All Star Mile, is a $1.90 favourite for her return to racing.
Even though he’s a bit older now, he’s thriving. He’s shown us that he’s ready for another campaign.
Godolphin’s trainer James Cummings is well aware of the advancing years of Hartnell but has him ready for another carnival.
“Even though he’s a bit older now, he’s thriving. He’s shown us that he’s ready for another campaign and I have no doubt that he’s ready to run a good race,” Cummings said.
“I’m keen to see how far off Mystic Journey he is.
“She’s the Cox Plate favourite and we’ll get a wonderful guide on where he stands.”
Even with Avilius and Alizee in the yard, Hartnell is still top dog for the boys in blue as the winner of almost $7 million over the past five years in Australia.
“He’s a veteran who loves the feeling of being boss. He has a presence that makes the young horses actually look up to him,” Cummings said.
Bowman is looking forward to testing Pin Sec in the Quezette Stakes and Bivouac in the Vain Stakes.
“It was one of those days where there wasn’t that much going on in Sydney and it was an opportunity to ride some nice horses in Melbourne,” Bowman said.
“Chris Waller remains the main supporter of mine, but when you get asked to ride horses like these you take that chance.
“I rode Bivouac in a trial and he is a very nice horse, and it looks a nice race for him on Saturday. Hopefully he can step as a three-year-old.”
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