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Turnbull Stakes Tips - Hartnell ticks almost every box

  • Hartnell in career best form.
  • Going better this year and was not far from winning the Turnbull in 2015
James McDonald returns on Hartnell

At first glance, Hartnell is a clear standout in Sunday’s Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), but there are a few things to consider before taking a blind leap of faith and loading up on him at Flemington.

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There is no questioning he is in career best form and trainer John O’Shea has done a marvellous job to get this son of Authorized back to his previous best and beyond.

He was far from disgraced finishing runner-up to Winx when first-up in the Warwick Stakes (1400m), but his next two wins have been simply breathtaking.

The rejuvenated six-year-old destroyed his rivals to win the Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) by more than seven lengths, and just as doubters (myself included) may have questioned the win, he produced and equally scintillating run to claim the Hill Stakes (1800m) by six lengths.

I don’t think many people would have been asking the question: would Hartnell have beaten Winx if she lined up? – but after the fact, that was the thought going through a lot of heads.

It’s hard to not be extremely impressed with the way Hartnell has returned this campaign, but can he now take that form to Melbourne and win Sunday’s Turnbull Stakes?

He contested the Turnbull last year and was only beaten 1.4 lengths by Preferment after settling some 15+ lengths last where he followed Preferment’s every move but couldn’t get past the eventual winner.

Prior to that run he had finished three lengths from Complacent in the Chelmsford stakes but appears to be going much, much better this preparation.

He was also second-up into last year’s Turnbull, and goes into this year’s renewal at his fourth run.

Three runs over 1400m, 1600m and 1800m looks like the ideal lead-up to a strong 2000m races, but being fourth-up is my only slight concern.

Hartnell has failed in both fourth-up runs in Australia – but they were in the Sydney Cup and Melbourne Cup over 3200m and I’ve always been adamant Hartnell is not a two-miler – his two mile form in Europe is against much weaker opposition and he struggles at that trip against elite gallopers.

However, 2000m is certainly well within his range – he won the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) beating Japanese star To The World as well as other top liners like Who Shot Thebarman, Lucia Valentina and Silent Achiever.

Sometimes we have to ignore patterns like failing fourth-up from a spell, well, not ignore, but put into context and apply some logic.

Hartnell is proven on Good to Heavy ground and really does look quite bombproof providing he maintains his recent form

Of the opposition, Ciaron Maher’s pair Jameka and Set Square are likely dangers and can go in the multiples, while The United States will also be storming home powerfully and challenge late.

Hartnell is simply racing like a horse possessed, and on his recent form, no horse in the land could defeat him – well, maybe one!


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Turnbull Stakes Tips - Hartnell ticks almost every box

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