By Brad Gray
Hartnell goes into round six with Winx in the Group One TAB Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Randwick and although John O’Shea concedes the enormity of his task on Saturday, he hasn’t yet given up hope of toppling the mare come the second day of The Championships.
“We’ve never met her on a day when I thought we could beat her,” O’Shea said.
“If we got to 10 furlongs (2000m) in the Queen Elizabeth at Randwick on a day when the track was rain affected, I think we can give Winx a competitive race.
“I don’t think that’ll come until we get to the Queen Elizabeth. Hartnell is a very effective horse at 10 furlongs to a mile-and-a-half, Winx is very effective horse from six furlongs to a mile-and-a-quarter.
“He’s not effective at Moonee Valley. She’s dynamic there. She’s a champion and Hartnell’s just a really good horse.”
Winx vs Hartnell in the Apollo first-up
Hartnell’s chances of finally turning the tables took a further hit when the six-year-old drew widest in the field of 10.
“The outside barrier is not ideal because we’ll have to drag back and there’ll be a lot of slow ones in front of us," said O'Shea.
“He’s probably carrying a little more condition than we would normally have on him, which is an intentional thing that will ideally get him to the Queen Elizabeth spot on.
“We just want him to have a good, positive day and hit the line hard. When he gets to the Ranvet in three weeks I’m sure he’ll be very effective.”
Brenton Advulla will warm the seat for James Doyle who remains on the sidelines with a fractured wrist.
Godolphin will also be represented by Magic Hurricane in the race and blinkers have been added to his gear to spark him up.
“He’s desperate to get his toe in the ground."
“After this week he gets into a 10-furlong race that will really suit him at Rosehill and I expect to see the best of him then."