It is no secret that we held a warm place in our hearts for Hartnell.
British bred he may have been, but we no reason to cast aspersions in his direction over where he foaled.
He was retired following his third place run in the 2019 Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes, so he went out in true championship fashion.
News now reaches us that he will be embarking on a new career as a show horse. He follows in the hoof steps of other reformed racers, such as another favourite, Chautauqua, along with Lankan Rupee and Precedence.
Hartnell was a true beauty by any Thoroughbred standard based on appearance alone and while the decision to go head-to-head with Winx was never Hartnell’s, the connections did not devise their campaigns, as some did, to avoid taking her on in major races.
Hartnell V Winx
Hartnell went up against Winx on eight occasions. He never truly came close to beating her, but on four of the eight occasions, he managed to run second. It seems like his best result against her was the 2017 Group 2 Apollo Stakes at Randwick, where he was within three lengths at the post.
Other things we admire about Hartnell is that he worked, making 58 jumps, that he was still racing in late 2019, won boatloads of money and was generally a credit to the man for whom we believe was the namesake, British seaman and explorer John Hartnell.
Hartnell can make one claim Winx never will. He ran in the Melbourne Cup three times, 2015 – 2017 and even managed to run third in 2016.
We appreciate versatility and winning from 1400 metres all the way out to 3200 is not a claim many can make.
Hartnell’s Next Chapter
Good looks, an impressive racing resume that found him placing in half of all the Group 1 races in which he took part, impeccable manners and other facets have us hoping that Hartnell equals as a show horse what he accomplished as a racehorse.