Hartnell to take his place in the farewell to Winx
The opportunity for one of its finest Australian horses to be a part of one of the more significant races in modern Australian racing has been given by Godolphin to Hartnell in Saturday’s G1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Randwick.
The Queen Elizabeth will be the final race for the world champion mare Winx, and while Hartnell will be out to end her 32-win sequence, the grand old campaigner is more likely to have to settle for another second placing.
Hartnell has finished behind Winx in each of their seven meetings and four times has been second to her, although he hasn’t raced against the mare since James Cummings took over as Godolphin’s head Australian trainer.
Realistically, second is the best he can hope for here, but to be involved, and to add substantially to his prizemoney total at the same time is a worthwhile goal.
Should he run second, Hartnell would take his racetrack earnings beyond A$7 million, and Cummings is content that he can back up from his G1 Doncaster Handicap third placing of a week earlier.
“He’s been outstanding at weight-for-age over seven furlongs and a mile this preparation and considering that the Doncaster wasn’t a race full of pressure, I can regard that race as a lead-up gallop to the Queen Elizabeth.”
“He’s ready to produce one more before he goes to the paddock on Monday."
The Queen Elizabeth has also attracted one of Winx’s other main protagonists, Happy Clapper (Teofilo) along with the Australian Cup winner Harlem and the English-trained son of Frankel, He’s Eminent and Kluger from Japan.
For Godolphin and Darley the final appearance of Winx also closes another chapter in the career of the late Street Cry.
One of the most successful stallions Darley has stood, Street Cry died in 2014, but Winx has carried his name high since she began her career in the same year.
In the five years since then, she has won 36 races, the last 32 in succession and she hasn’t been beaten in three years, winning four G1 Cox Plates and four of nearly everything else along on the way.
Coincidentally, and hopefully not ominously, her last defeat came on this corresponding day in 2015 in the G1 Australian Oaks when she finished second to Gust Of Wind.
Since then she has built an incomparable record, her unbeaten run including 24 G1 victories and her prizemoney total standing at a tick over $24 million.
Winx is expected to win and add the first prize of $2.3 million to that total on Saturday, but her career will be assessed by less-material measures such as the massive crowd that will come to Randwick to farewell the best racehorse most of them has ever seen.