Godolphin’s Hartnell (GB) will duel again with Bonneval (NZ) with both accepted for the field of 11 in the $1m, Group 1 WFA Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
The Group 1 winner was second to the Baker and Forsman trained four-year-old mare in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes over 1800m and also second to Humidor (NZ) in the Group 1 Makya Diva Stakes over 1600m at Flemington on September 16th.
Trainer James Cummings reported on Wednesday that the six-year-old Authorized gelding is at his best so far for this campaign.
“He looks to be in the best condition of his whole preparation,” said Cummings.
“He is getting out to 10 furlongs for the first time and he has had three runs. At each of his past two runs there have been things that didn’t go his way and he still ran very well to finish second.
“I am delighted with where he is at, he has really blossomed since the Underwood Stakes where he ran so well behind Bonneval who he meets again.
“He will give himself every opportunity to turn the tables on what is obviously a very good mare,” he said.
Glyn Schofield rides with barrier seven with Damien Lane wider out at 11 on Bonneval. The four-year-old Makfi mare, the winner of the ATC Oaks over 2400m at Randwick in April, has won her opening two races of her spring campaign in sparkling form with the last the Underwood Stakes on October 1st.
The stablemate Jon Snow (NZ) has barrier nine for Stephen Baster.
Hartnell remains the market favourite with TAB.com.au after being $2.60 on Monday and now at $2.80 on acceptances. Bonneval is at $3.00, Gailo Chop (FR) $9.00 and Jon Snow at $10.00 and the rest $12.00 and over.
Acceptances from the international visitors include Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Johannes Vermeer (IRE) with Katelyn Mallyon and barrier six; The Taj Mahal (IRE) with Damien Oliver and barrier two and Willie Mullin’s Riven Light (IRE) with Kranji based Glen Boss and barrier four.
The Caulfield Stakes is Race 7 at 3.50pm on the ten race programme which commences at 12.20pm with the $120,000, listed Debutant Stakes (1000m) with a field of 13 two-year-old’s.
The rail will be in the true position for the entire circuit for Saturday and the track was rated as a Good 3 on Wednesday after 25mm of irrigation in the last seven days.
Melbourne’s weather has a forecast of a partly cloudy day on Thursday and 19c, Friday cloudy with a medium (40%) chance of showers and 18c and Saturday’s forecast is for a partly cloudy day and 8c – 20c.
Hartnell winning at Caulfield, picture Quentinjlang.com