Hartnell Claims the Orr Stakes in a Thriller

Mark Smith - Saturday February 10

With less than a length and a half covering the first nine across the line, it was the class of Godolphin's popular import Hartnell that carried the day in Saturday's Group 1 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

With Craig Williams in the saddle, Hartnell held off a late rally from Single Gaze (Not A Single Doubt) by a short-head with the fast-finishing Brave Smash (JPN) (Tosen Phantom) a nose away third.  (photos Grant Courtney)

''The race didn't work out right for him, he was slow away and didn't turn around the bend," Williams said.

"I had to be firm with him but he lifted and was too good - he's a quality horse and the good ones can do it."

The son of Authorized (IRE) has been a bit of a whipping boy for champion mare Winx and they may renew their rivalry in the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick on March 3.

"He's an absolute pleasure to train, he has to be up there with the best horses His Highness Sheikh Mohammed has had in Australia, " Cummings said.

"I had a funny little feeling that if he was to return as good as that maybe we could target a Chipping Norton with him second-up and have the fit horse on the scene.

"The horse does sprint very well on the fresh side and I do like the idea of keeping him fresh.

"I won't lock in any plans today because I don't want to disappoint anybody, but I know where my preferences lie.

"We'll have a good chat about it and do the right thing by Hartnell."

Hartnell advances his overall record to 12 wins, 11 seconds and 2 thirds from 38 starts with earnings of $4,763,499.

The 7yo gelding began his career in Britain with Mark Johnston for whom he won five races, including the Bahrain Trophy and Queen's Vase and was placed in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud.

A half-brother to Listed winner and Group 1 Newmarket Fillies' Mile runner-up Roz (Teofilo), Hartnell is out of the twice winning Anabaa mare Debonnaire whose stakes-placed dam Ultra Finesse (Rahy) who is a half-sister to Prix de l"Arc de Triomphe, French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes winner Suave Dancer.

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