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Hartnell On The Up: O'Shea

Wednesday, 19th October 2016

Trainer John O'Shea has issued an ominous warning to Hartnell's Cox Plate rivals by declaring Godolphin's star galloper is still improving. Hartnell (Authorized-Debonnaire, by Anabaa) has emerged as the horse most likely to challenge Winx's standing as Australia's best racehorse, following outstanding victories in the Gr2 Chelmsford Stakes, Gr2 Hill Stakes, and Gr1 Turnbull Stakes, which have yielded a combined winning margin of 16.9 lengths. "I think he's been on an upward spiral since he's been in Melbourne, he worked nicely here last week and I feel he's improved since the Turnbull," O'Shea told Godolphin.com. While O'Shea is acutely aware of the obvious threat posed by Winx, his thoughts are focused on Hartnell. "Winx is a deserving favourite," he said, "but I don't go into the race with any expectations - just focus on our horse and having him as good as we can get him on the day." Hartnell fared well at yesterday's barrier draw coming up with barrier seven, a starting position that O'Shea said would suit the UK bred. "It's important for Hartnell to draw out a bit so he can build his momentum and roll into the race from the start without having to be squeezed up to hold his spot," O'Shea said. "It gives James [jockey James McDonald] options and should allow him to take up a good spot. One of the things about this horse is that he can accelerate quickly and he can also relax when he needs to."

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