Hartnell Trainer Cummings Adopts Smart Strategy Avoid Winx
As a racehorse, Hartnell could well be considered a generational great, were he not the victim of unfortunate timing in coming along at the precise time an unquestioned generational great, Winx, and has dominated the distance and running conditions for which Hartnell is aimed.
Hartnell is a Goldolphin galloper, so it is legitimate to mention that the high expectations of the stable that dominates racing around the world are quite lofty. Hartnell has earned the operation lots of money, but in terms of glory, he has just the two Group 1 wins, The BMW at Rosehill in March of 2015 and the Turnbull Stakes at Flemington in October of 2016. Two tries in the Melbourne Cup have left him with a third place finish in 2016.
Now, new headman of Goldolphin’s Australia operation, James Cummings, has made the sage and pragmatic decision to keep Hartnell out of races that include Winx. Cummings took a rather poetic turn when he said, “We’ll steer him into races where he’s not chasing home a ghost and where he would be a chance of winning.”
Hartnell has lined up against Winx on seven occasions, and run second to her on four of those. Take her out of the equation, and it would be a reasonable supposition that he would own six Group 1 titles.
We would like to see him take his best run at Winx in the Cox Plate, but he may be aimed at the Caulfield Cup, which at 2400 metres, is out of reach for Winx. Early betting markets have Hartnell as favourite in the Caulfield Cup.
Cummings had his first winner for Goldolphin on Saturday, when Manicure won. Speaking on RSN, he indicated that one change coming along since he has taken the helm would be more of a presence at the Melbourne metro tracks, but that he would probably follow the lead of the other big stables in simply hiring the best jockey available for races, rather than hire a stable jockey.