Talented import Hartnell stamped himself as a serious 2015 The BMW (2400m) contender over the weekend when charging home to comfortably take out the Group 3 Sky High Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill Gardens.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey James McDonald settled Hartnell off the pace of the race’s early leaders, receiving an ideal run in transit before displaying an exceptional turn of foot in the final straight to hit the line two lengths in the clear of closest rival Opinion.
James McDonald partnered the Authorized gelding to success in the Sky High Stakes and is confident he will relish the step-up to 2400m and will be particularly difficult to beat on March 28th.
“He is a very nice horse going forward and he is a horse that will obviously get better as the distances get longer,” McDonald said.
“He has a bright future heading into The BMW in a couple of weeks.
“He showed his tactical speed and he put them away really quickly.
“He got a little bit tired late, but he is going to improve from here.”
Trainer John O’Shea revealed he is still learning the dos and don’ts with Hartnell, and confirmed he will allow work this week to dictate the definite next course of action.
“The horse jumped well, he took his time to get across and he got into a beautiful position where he could dictate the race,” O’Shea said after the Sky High Stakes.
“I am still learning about him and I just wasn’t sure whether he would cope with the trip and the firmness of the ground.
“We got a little bit of rain in Sydney, which made me lean here and the fact that I don’t want to overtax him during the autumn.
“We will see how he pulls up and there is the option to run him in a fortnight and the option to run him in three weeks after.
“We will just be guided by how he pulls up and what we are happy with.”
Beginning his racing career under the guidance of Mark Johnstone before transferring to the care of O’Shea this season, Hartnell has been impressive in his two Australian starts so far, having placed a close second to stable mate Contributer in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) two weeks prior to the Sky High Stakes.
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