Australian Thoroughbred

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27/9/2019 Hartnell leads a squadron of Guineas hopefuls into battle at Caulfield
Mike Hedge

The best G1 opportunity of his current campaign arrives for the evergreen Hartnell when he runs in Sunday’s Underwood Stakes at Caulfield.

On a card that could also reveal the strength of Godolphin’s Guineas prospects, Hartnell (Hugh Bowman) will be seeking his fourth victory at racing’s elite level in a race in which he finished second two years ago.

The nine-year-old has been around the money in shorter races at his three runs this time in, and trainer James Cummings feels the step up to 1,800m should give him his chance.

“He should be perfectly conditioned for this race,” Cummings said.

“His three runs this preparation have all been typical of the old warrior that he is, and now he gets out to a trip that will suit him even better.”

“He should be very comfortable at the 1,800m after chasing some sharp horses in shorter races.”

Cummings will also saddle the fillies Flit (Hugh Bowman), Tenley (Kerrin McEvoy) and Pin Sec (Craig Williams) in the G2 Thousand Guineas Prelude with Lyre (Luke Currie), trained by Anthony Freedman, making up a Godolphin quartet in the race.

Flit missed a scheduled run last weekend due to the wet track and steps up in trip at Caulfield.

“She goes to 1,400m for the first time and this will be her first run at Caulfield, so it will be an interesting test,” Cummings said.

“We took her out of the race in Sydney she was entered for last weekend, but I’d be disappointed if missing that run will affect her, she’s such an athletic filly.”

Tenley, the winner of three juvenile races last term, indicated she was close to her best with a strong effort to come from well back to finish third at Flemington last start.

“Her run at Flemington was very encouraging, she settled and finished off nicely,” Cummings said.

“She appears to be well suited again at the 1,400m and she’s gone ahead nicely.”

Pin Sec is yet to produce her best in two runs this preparation, but it is hoped the step up to 1,400m can lead to improvement.

The fourth set of all blue silks will be carried by Lyre who had a slight setback before finishing second at Flemington last Saturday, but the Freedman stable is satisfied she will be ready to perform on Saturday.

“She’s looked all along as though the 1,400m will suit her, so we’re expecting her to show that again here,” said stable spokesman Sam Freedman.

“She missed a run after a slightly poor scope three weeks ago but she’s been perfect ever since.”

In the G3 Guineas Prelude for colts and geldings, the lightly-raced Hilo (Damian Lane) gets the chance to make a statement.

“He’s come through some modest-looking races, but they had some strength,” Cummings said

“It’s a step up in class but he’s a winner and he deserves to be here.”

The weekend is completed by Haunted (Damian Lane) who runs in the Listed Testa Rossa Stakes at Caulfield having finished second at his last outing to the subsequent G1 winner Begood Toya Mother.

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