Hartnell bows out in typical fighting fashion finishing third in G1 Mackinnon

Mike Hedge
Mike Hedge

Hartnell has made his farewell to racing with a typically determined effort to finish third in Saturday’s G1 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.

In his 58th start and his 34th at the elite level, the old warrior may not have mustered a winning effort, but as usual, he put himself into the fight before going down by a length and a nose to the Irish mare Magic Wand and the boom New Zealander Melody Belle.

“He did us all proud, he never gave up, he gave it his best shot, like the old war horse that he is,” said rider Hugh Bowman.

Bowman gave Hartnell the perfect ride on the back of the leader Gailo Chop, forcing the pace from the 800m and putting his head in front at the 300m.

But Ryan Moore had also given Magic Wand a superb ride in third place, producing her at the 200m and gathering in Hartnell over the final stages with Melody Belle coming from the rear to claim second place a stride from the line.

The effort left Hartnell with a record of four wins and another 14 placings at G1, and 13 wins and 23 placings overall, for prizemoney of A$7.46 million.

Trainer James Cummings joined Bowman in his praise of a horse who has been the backbone of Godolphin’s Australian stable for the past five years.

“He gave us something to cheer halfway down the straight, as he usually does,” Cummings said.

“It was great to see him go out fighting, that’s how we’ll remember him, as a horse who was always in for the fight.”

Hartnell will remain in Godolphin ownership in his retirement in which he will be cared for by the stable’s senior Melbourne foreman Reg Fleming and is likely to have a future in the show ring.