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Aussie G1 winner my ultimate goal

by James Doyle

I have been based in Sydney nearly three months now, and I am really getting into the swing of things. I'm loving the lifestyle and the racing.

I have ridden 15 winners here so far, which includes at least one at each of the four Sydney metro tracks. Riding top class horses obviously helps.
I went through a period, where I couldn't crack it at Randwick, and then (on Jan 14), I rode four there on the same day. Sometimes, you just have to be patient.
With a string of G1 races on the horizon, in both Sydney and Melbourne, it is clearly a very exciting time of the year, and Hartnell, Godolphin's flagship in Australia, fronts up for another Autumn campaign, starting with Saturday's G2 Apollo Stakes, over 1,400m at Randwick.
Frankly, we'd be hard pushed to beat Winx, especially first-up.
She's a champion, and her record first time out is good. But, having said that, my fellow Hartnell's performances at the start of a preparation aren't too bad, either.
I rode him on his very first run in Australia (in Feb 2015), when he was second to Contributer in the G1 Chipping Norton Stakes at Warwick Farm.
What a wonderful career Hartnell has had down here -- he has won just short of $3m in prizemoney, he  is a multiple G1 winner, and been placed in a G1 Cox Plate and G1 Melbourne Cup.
I rode him recently in his barrier trial (at Randwick on Jan 27). I was happy enough but it was a very quiet trial. Over such a short distance (1,000m), it was hard to learn much.
Obviously, on his first run of the prep, you are hoping he doesn't have a complete gut-buster of a run. There will be better targets further down the line.
As for myself, I have some very good rides coming up. One worth a mention at Randwick on Saturday (apart from Hartnell) is Pearls in the G3 Robrick Lodge Triscay Stakes. She trialled OK recently, and I think she has a good chance.
To ride winners day-to-day is obviously very good, but to win a G1 race here in Australia would be pretty special. That would be my ultimate goal.
In the meantime, I look forward to riding many talented horses for Godolphin and trainer John O'Shea.