The second highest-rated horse in the country, Hartnell, is the odds-on favourite to bounce back and win the Group One Ranvet Stakes at Rosehill after a disappointing showing at his most recent start.
With champion Winx running in Saturday’s George Ryder Stakes (1500m) on the same program as the weight-for-age Ranvet (2000m), it gives Hartnell a golden opportunity to land a third career Group One win and keep an unbeaten record at Rosehill intact.
The Ranvet is the first of five Group One races on the Golden Slipper program and victory to Hartnell ($1.90) would give visiting jockey William Buick his first Australian Group One success.
The Godolphin hoop also rides Hauraki and Trekking in Group One races on Saturday.
Hartnell goes in off a last-start eighth in the Chipping Norton Stakes at Randwick on heavy going, the only time this season the gelding has not finished among the placings.
He has not raced at Rosehill since March 2015 when he won the Sky High Stakes (2000m) and the Group One BMW (2400m) in consecutive starts.
“There were genuine excuses for him last start, but again, he’s going to find a track on Saturday that is wet,” trainer John O’Shea said.
“He looks to be back to his best and he would need to be near his best to be in the finish of this race.
“We just need to get him back in the game and get a good positive run leading into the Queen Elizabeth and hopefully he does that on Saturday.
“We’re very happy with him. He’s in great order and I’m sure he’ll bounce back.”
It was only 12 days between Hartnell’s first-up second to Winx in the Apollo Stakes and his unplaced Chipping Norton run and O’Shea is happier with a more suitable spacing this time.
“Three weeks has always been his ideal time between runs,” the Godolphin trainer said.
“He takes a week to get over his run and then he gets into his groove and he starts throwing his head around. He’s done that this week so we’re looking forward to Saturday.”
Last year’s winner The United States is on the second line of betting at $5 with Antonio Giuseppe and Stratum Star both at $9.50 in the field of eight.No tags for this post.