Sep 5 2017
Godolphin continues to keep everyone guessing which major race Hartnell will be aimed at this spring.
New Godolphin Australian trainer James Cummings took advantage of the chance to gallop Hartnell and unbeaten three-year-old Esperance at Moonee Valley on Tuesday along with Banish and Etymology.
Of the quartet only Banish and Etymology will run at Moonee Valley on Saturday with Hartnell and Esperance at Flemington on September 16.
Asked if anything could be read into Hartnell's first trip back to Moonee Valley since finishing second to Winx in last year's Cox Plate, Godolphin Melbourne foreman David Charles said a decision was pending.
"We're keeping everyone guessing," Charles said.
A decision whether Hartnell heads to the Caulfield Cup or the Cox Plate won't be made until after the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.
"He's fantastic and has done extremely well since his first-up win at Caulfield and we're looking forward to Saturday week," Charles said.
"It's a month between runs so James thought it was a good opportunity to take him away to give him a gallop and we're happy with the way he's come though it."
Esperance, unbeaten in two outings, runs at Flemington in either the Danehill Stakes (1200m) or the Exford Plate (1400m).
"James thought it was an opportunity to come here for future races," Charles said.
"It's all part of the learning curve with him.
"He's a lightly raced gelding who will take on some pretty good opposition on Saturday week, so we need to be ready."
Banish jumps to a black-type race in the Atlantic Jewel Stakes on Saturday after staging a last-to-first victory at Cranbourne.
Charles said the filly handled the Moonee Valley track without a problem as did Etymology who runs in the 1600m handicap.
a good test for her (Banish) on Saturday and we'll get to see where
we're at with her for the rest of the spring," he said.
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