Hartnell Aiming for Return to Winner’s Circle in Underwood Stakes

Trainer James Cummings is planning to switch things up a bit with regard to racing tactics when he fields his star galloper Hartnell in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes at Caulfield Racecourse on Sunday.

Hopefully, racing fans will be sufficiently recovered from the AFL Grand Final and not too far along in their preparations for the NRL Grand Final.

Hartnell has been money in his two starts this season, winning first up in the PB Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield and then running well the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington, where only Humidor got to the line ahead of him.

Cummings plans to let Hartnell have more time to settle, despite the fact that Hartnell did well running near the front.

According to his remarks published in the Herald Sun, “He (Hartnell) steps out to the 1800m here in the Underwood and he’ll be well suited,” Cummings said. “We’d love to ride him with a little bit of cover this time, a little more neutrally from the barriers. I was delighted to see him pull up quite well from what was a tough run in the Makybe Diva Stakes. He had to burn the candle at both ends and he was able to hold off the challenges and battle on bravely for second.”

Hartnell is now at Caulfield, where he was given a little gallop during the week. “I think he’s really ready to attack the line and he showed real sharpness in his gallop at Caulfield on Tuesday morning and the reports from the team in Melbourne are really strong,” Cummings said.

Cummings has other eggs in the basket for Sunday. He plans to run It’s Somewhat in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clark Stakes (1400 m). It will be It’s Somewhat’s first race on the spring, so throwing him into a Group 1 seems to be an instance of throwing caution to the wind, which is to say, it’s somewhat of a risky choice.

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