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Hartnell off to the spelling paddock

Hartnell will head to the spelling paddock instead of Hong Kong but he could still make the trip later in the year.

He had been earmarked for the QEII Cup at the end of the month but Godolphin says he will be given a break and be prepared for a spring campaign in which he can avoid Winx as much as possible.

Rated Australia’s second best horse in the 2016 world rankings, Hartnell again chased the champion mare home in Saturday’s Queen Elizabeth Stakes.

“Hopefully he can go out on his nice positive run behind Winx and still have something left in the tank for the spring,” trainer John O’Shea said.

“He had a great carnival, he’s an amazing horse.

“He’s raced at the highest level from when he was two until now as a rising seven-year-old.

“He’s still very sound and his appetite for racing is as strong as ever.”

Hartnell’s second place in the Queen Elizabeth took his record to 10 wins and 11 placings from 32 starts and his prize money to more than $4 million.

“Hopefully if we can duck-and-weave a bit in the spring and avoid Winx, then there’ll be a nice race for him somewhere,” O’Shea said.

The Group One Hong Kong Cup at the International meeting in December is among his options.

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