Five Years On......Hartnell Claims The Epsom Handicap
Mighty galloper takes out the feature mile with the topweight in track record time
September 28, 2023
There’s no doubt Hartnell was one of the most popular horses in Sydney racing during his time.
The Godolphin-owned galloper arrived from Europe with five wins to his name before having his first run in the 2015 Group 1 Chipping Norton, finishing second to Contributer. He would then go on to register back-to-back wins, one of those in the Group 1 BMW, before winding up his first Australian preparation with a fourth in the Sydney Cup.
Fast forward to the following spring and further victories at Group 2 level in Sydney, and a Group 1 in Melbourne, saw him established as one of the best in Australia with placings in the Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
Trainer James Cummings was never afraid to test Hartnell against the best and he ultimately ran into champion mare Winx more often than not. His performances, however, were always first rate.
Heading into the 2018 Epsom and Hartnell had been given two runs, which yielded a second and fourth – both in Melbourne. Given the topweight in a field of 20, the son of Authorized was being asked to carry 57kgs with Hugh Bowman in the saddle.
Bowman slotted in just off the leaders, seventh one off the rails, and then presented the gelding to the centre of the track turning for home.
With the leaders still several lengths in front of him, Hartnell let down with a powerful run to range up to D’argento, who he had trailed in the run, with the pair clearing out late to fight out the finish.
In a bobbing go, Hartnell narrowly got the verdict over D’argento, which led in a Chris Waller trio of runners that ultimately finished second, third (Unforgotten) and fourth (Shillelagh).
The time of 1:32.73 was a race record, breaking the Randwick mile mark which had stood since 2004. Click here to relive all the action from the 2018 TAB Epsom.
For Bowman, it was his second Epsom win following on from the success of Winx in 2015 while for Cummings, it was his first.
For the mighty Godolphin warrior, it would be his final race win despite having a further two race preparations which yielded six placings at Group 1 level, including thirds to Brutal in the 2019 Doncaster and Win in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Since retirement, Hartnell has taken his place in Godolphin’s Lifetime Care program where he spends his day as a show horse.
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