Australia: Hartnell lights up Chelmsford Stakes

Hartnell won The BMW in 2015

PICTURE: Australia: Hartnell lights up Chelmsford Stakes By Alex Wiltshire 10:17AM 3 SEP 2016

Report; Australia, Saturday

Randwick: Tattersalls Club Chelmsford Stakes (Group 2) 1m, 3yo+

SOFT going may have deprived star mare Winx the chance to shine in the Chelmsford Stakes, however Hartnell (John O'Shea/James McDonald) ensured it did not dampen the spectacle as he lit up Randwick with a blistering victory.

Winx was pulled out due to the going at Randwick and it set to contest the Group 1 George Main Stakes in two weeks before heading to the Cox Plate, her trainer Chris Waller said.

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Sent off the favourite after Winx was declared a non-runner, Hartnell was unleashed by McDonald after the home turn, and in an instant he left his five rivals for dead.

The ease of victory was such that the rider could nonchalantly glance the eight lengths back to the scrambling field as Hartnell crossed the line. However, Godolphin's retained rider was not getting carried away.

"I think Winx would have come out on top, but this horse is going really well," McDonald said. "I was really rapt with his first hard run and he's built on that. I thought I was on [It's A Dundeel] again in the Derby. He's pretty good."

Hartnell, who won the Group 1 BMW over a mile and a half at Rosehill last year, looks destined to remain in Sydney for the Hill Stakes and The Metropolitan, despite being shortened for the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley.

O'Shea revealed: "The Metropolitan has always been his aim but there are a few options. The plan has always been to run him in Hill Stakes with a view to going to the Metrop.

"The idea is to keep him in Sydney because he likes to get his toe in the ground and he is more likely to get a softer track in Sydney than Melbourne."

John Ferguson, Godolphin chief executive, was in Sydney over the weekend, and was delighted with McDonald's form.

"James is riding out of his skin," Ferguson said. "James came to Europe in our summer and he really performed like the world-class rider he is."

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