Godolphin gelding Hartnell could be set for another showdown with Australian champion Winx next month in Sydney after the seven-year-old returned to the Group 1 winner’s list with a thrilling come-from-behind victory in the C.F. Orr Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
The victory marked a superb day down under for Godolphin and trainer James Cummings as five out of their 11 runners won with Beijing Board and Kementari successful at Warwick Farm, Connoisseur winning at Kembla Grange and Old North at Doomben.
Two other horses placed and the lowest finish on the day from any Godolphin horse was fifth.
With that run under Hartnell’s belt and Winx having to go to the 1600-metre Chipping Norton Stakes after a decision to miss next week’s Apollo Stakes, Cummings said he will contemplate Hartnell returning to Sydney for the Group 1 after the narrow but brave win in Melbourne.
‘’I just had a little funny feeling that if he was to return as good as that, maybe we could target the Chipping Norton second-up and have the fit horse on the scene,’’ Cummings said after the victory.
‘’The horse does sprint well on the fresh side and I do like the idea of keeping him fresh.’’
It would be the eighth time Hartnell has faced Winx, with the Godolphin horse yet to record a victory – but having run second on four occasions.
Cummings was unconcerned over the possibility of facing the Australian super-horse, on a 22-race winning run, again.
‘’I’ll place Hartnell in the best race he can win but it’s a weight-for-age group 1 mile at Randwick,” he said.
Saturday’s victory was Hartnell’s twelfth victory from 38 starts and it took his earnings to more than $4.7 million (Dh17.2m).
The Godolphin camp were understandably delighted with the first Group 1 victory of 2018, and it helped to erase miserable memories of Hartnell’s run at the Emirates Melbourne Cup where the gelding finished a disappointing 20th.
Indeed it was Hartnell’s first win since August last year in the Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes, also at Caulfield.
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Nominations for the $10,000,000 Dubai World Cup (G1), sponsored by Emirates Airline, closed on January 11 with 136 of the globe’s premier Thoroughbreds throwing their names into the ring, including iconic Australian mare Winx currently on a 22-race winning streak.
Scheduled for March 31, 2018, at Meydan Racecourse the 2000m dirt fixture has been won by such superstar champions as Cigar, Dubai Millennium, Invasor, Curlin, California Chrome and Arrogate.
In 2018, nominations for the Dubai World Cup include American champions West Coast and Forever Unbridled, as well as Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) winner Talismanic, Japan’s Champions Cup (G1) winner Gold Dream and the previous two winners of the Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Diversify and Hoppertunity.
Other G1-winning nominees of note include Thunder Snow, Apollo Kentucky and Seeking the Soul, while top-class G2-winning athletes Gunnevera, Second Summer and Good Samaritan add significant depth.
International luminaries are abundant in the nominations for the nine-race, $30-million card – the richest day on the global racing calendar. The $6,000,000 Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) over 2410m on turf is topped by champion Cracksman, the world’s top-rated 3-year-old of 2017, as well as Japan Cup (G1) winner Cheval Grand and G1 winner Cloth of Stars, while the $6,000,000 Dubai Turf sponsored by DP World (G1) over 1800m attracted the world’s top-rated horse in training, Australian superstar Winx, a daughter of Dubai World Cup winner Street Cry, as well as champion World Approval and last year’s winner Vivlos.
The card’s two sprints showcase some of the fastest horses on the planet. The $2,000,000 Dubai Golden Shaheen sponsored by Gulf News (G1) over 1200m on dirt is topped by defending champion Mind Your Biscuits, Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) winner Roy H and Centenary Sprint Cup (G1) winner D B Pin, while the $1,000,000 Al Quoz Sprint sponsored by Azizi Developments (G1) over 1200m on turf features defending champion The Right Man, British Champions Sprint (G1) winner Librisa Breeze and UAE’s top-rated horse, Ertijaal.
A pair of Group 2 events, each worth $1,000,000, respectively boast strong global intrigue.
The Dubai Gold Cup sponsored by Al Tayer Motors, a 3200m turf marathon, attracted three-time G1 winner and two-time defending champion Vazirabad, as well as Big Orange and Torcedor, while the Godolphin Mile sponsored by Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District One, over a 1600m on the dirt, includes Cigar Mile (G1) winner Sharp Azteca, as well as Kafuji Take and Accelerate.
The $2,000,000 UAE Derby sponsored by The Saeed & Mohammed Al Naboodah Group (G2) sees such rising stars as Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) winner Mendelssohn, Japanese stakes winner Don Fortis and G2 winner Untamed Domain, a son of Dubai World Cup winner Animal Kingdom.
At 1900m on dirt, the UAE Derby offers its winner 100 Road to the Kentucky Derby points, which can lead to a start in that American classic.
Dubai Racing Club received 1,412 nominations for 739 horses from 20 countries.
Malih Al Basti, Meydan Vice Chairman and Chairman of the Meydan Racing Committee, said: “The 2018 Dubai World Cup is a truly global, world-class race day like no other, offering an action-packed meeting with the very best international horses, owners and trainers being represented in its nominations.
“It is also very heartening to see 19 countries on the list and we once again look forward to hosting an exceptionally international day of racing on Saturday, March 31st.
“While the Dubai World Cup is the world’s richest day of racing, it is also an opportunity for the racing community to gather and celebrate the very best the sport has to offer at the magnificent Meydan Racecourse, the perfect stage to host our international and local competitors.
“When it was created in 1996, it was part of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai’s long-term vision for racing, where he saw the event becoming a global highlight on the racing calendar.
“It is rewarding to see that vision fulfilled year after year.”
2018 DUBAI WORLD CUP NOMINATIONS
Total Nominations 1412
Total Horses 739
$10m Dubai World Cup Group 1 2000m (dirt) 136
$6m Dubai Sheema Classic Group 1 2410m (turf) 153
$6m Dubai Turf Group 1 1800m (turf) 253
$2m Dubai Golden Shaheen Group 1 1200m (dirt) 155
$1m Al Quoz Sprint Group 1 1200m (turf) 175
$2m UAE Derby Group 2 1900m (dirt) 140
$1m Dubai Gold Cup Group 2 3200m (turf) 93
$1m Godolphin Mile Group 2 1600m (dirt) 250
$1m Dubai Kahayla Classic Group 1 (PA) 2000m (dirt) 57