Hartnell Bart and Le Romain Avoid Winx to run Makybe Diva Stakes

The strategy of team Hartnell is simple but effective. If Winx is running at Randwick, Hartnell is running at Flemington.

Hartnell’s connections are confident that their horse is primed for Saturday’s meeting at Headquarters, as he will jump in the Group 1 Makybe Diva (1600 m) weight-for-age race that is the highlight of the meeting, along with other important races, including the Group 2s, Danehill and Lets Elope Stakes.

Everyone’s favourite super mare will stay closer to home and run in the Group 1 George Main Stakes. The George Main Stakes became known as the Colgate Optic White Stakes and the winner receives a ballot exemption for the Epson Handicap and a year’s supply of tooth whitening paste.

Only eight others are bothering to show up in the attempt to prevent Winx from winning her 20th consecutive and our recent check of the odds does not bear mentioning, other than Happy Clapper has moved to second-favourite, meaning that trainer Pat Webster’s aim at the $94,000 prize for second is backed by punters.

Hartnell enjoys favourtism down at Flemington, listed at $1.75, but Black Heart Bart ($6.00) and Le Romain ($9.00) are at least in the conversation. All three have done the first part of their task for achieving Group 1 glory, which is avoiding any race in which Winx is running.

If it was one of our horses taking part, we could always claim that we favoured the Makybe Diva Stakes because our galloper prefers to run anti-clockwise, as the George Main goes with the clock.

The winner of the Makybe Diva gets a free pass to the Caulfield Cup, which recently made news when Racing Victoria is taking measures to facilitate a Cups double by not adding excessive weight allowances to the Caulfield Cup winner for the Melbourne Cup.

The Caulfield Cup also offers the advantage of being on the other side of Melbourne, as Winx will be too busy trying for her third Cox Plate.

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