Hartnell set for another showdown with Winx after thrilling Caulfield win

Alex Broun 16:52 10/02/2018
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Godolphin gelding Hartnell could be set for another showdown with Australian champion Winx next month in Sydney after the seven-year-old returned to the Group 1 winner’s list with a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.

The victory marked a superb day down under for Godolphin and trainer James Cummings as five out of their 11 runners won with Beijing Board and Kementari successful at Warwick Farm, Connoisseur winning at Kembla Grange and Old North at Doomben.

Two other horses placed and the lowest finish on the day from any Godolphin horse was fifth.

With that run under Hartnell’s belt and Winx having to go to the 1600-metre Chipping Norton Stakes after a decision to miss next week’s Apollo Stakes, Cummings said he will contemplate Hartnell returning to Sydney for the Group 1 after the narrow but brave win in Melbourne.

‘’I just had a little funny feeling that if he was to return as good as that, maybe we could target the Chipping Norton second-up and have the fit horse on the scene,’’ Cummings said after the victory.

‘’The horse does sprint well on the fresh side and I do like the idea of keeping him fresh.’’

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 05: Hugh Bowman on Winx competes in a barrier trial at Rosehill Gardens on February 5, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Hugh Bowman on Winx in a barrier trial at Rosehill on February 5.

It would be the eighth time Hartnell has faced Winx, with the Godolphin horse yet to record a victory – but having run second on four occasions.

Cummings was unconcerned over the possibility of facing the Australian super-horse, on a 22-race winning run, again.

‘’I’ll place Hartnell in the best race he can win but it’s a weight-for-age group 1 mile at Randwick,” he said.

Saturday’s victory was Hartnell’s twelfth victory from 38 starts and it took his earnings to more than $4.7 million (Dh17.2m).

The Godolphin camp were understandably delighted with the first Group 1 victory of 2018, and it helped to erase miserable memories of Hartnell’s run at the Emirates Melbourne Cup where the gelding finished a disappointing 20th.

Indeed it was Hartnell’s first win since August last year in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes, also at Caulfield.

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