Godolphin’s Hartnell is returning to Melbourne for a shot at the Australian Cup in which he will face 11 rivals in the $1.5 million race at Flemington.
Winner of the C F Orr Stakes at Caulfield first-up on February 10, Hartnell was a last-start third behind Gailo Chop and Single Gaze in the Peter Young Stakes (1800m) a fortnight later.
Hartnell has drawn barrier six in Saturday’s Group One race and will again face off against Gailo Chop (10) and Single Gaze (5) in the 2000m-race.
Six-time Melbourne Cup winning trainer Lloyd Williams will have three runners – Almandin (11), The Taj Mahal (7) and Homesman (3) – while Lindsay Park will run Ventura Storm (2) and Harlem (4).
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Japanese import Ambitious makes his Australian debut for the Anthony Freedman stable in Saturday’s race and has drawn the outside barrier.
A field of 15 will contest the Newmarket Handicap over the straight 1200m-course with last year’s winner Redkirk Warrior, topweight with 57.5kg, drawing the outside gate.
Redkirk Warrior is one of five runners for Lindsay Park which also has Thronum (7), Fastnet Tempest (10), So Si Bon (12) and Catchy (9).
Last-start Futurity Stakes winner Brave Smash has drawn barrier two while his Darren Weir-trained stablemate Ken’s Dream has drawn eight while the only other trainer with multiple runners in the $1.25 million sprint is Robbie Laing with Lord Of The Sky (1) and Missrock (11).
The favourite, Merchant Navy, drew barrier four for trainer Aaron Purcell.