Hartnell lifts Bahrain Trophy
Hartnell showed the typical toughness of a Mark Johnston charge, making all to capture the Group 3 Bahrain Trophy under Joe Fanning. A winner of the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot when stepped up to 2 miles for the first time, the son of Authorized had no trouble dropping back to this 1m 5f trip, digging deep into his stamina reserves to run his rivals into the ground with a deadly front running performance.
Fanning was happy to set his own pace up front with his willing partner and having travelled strongly throughout, kicked for home before the furlong pole, readily going clear to score by 2 3/4 lengths from 2/1 joint favourites Windshear and Forever Now.
Fanning said: “He’s won well today, he kept straight and at the two-pole I thought it would take a good one to get by me. He quickened up well.
“He gave me a better feel today than at Ascot. There was a bit more juice in the ground – when he ran last year in France it was heavy ground.”
Johnston said: “Joe said he gave him a much better feel there than he did at Ascot. He wonders a little bit now whether the two miles there was stretching him a little bit.
“He burst clear so comfortably at Ascot and said today that two down he couldn’t see anything getting past him. He had plenty left in the tank, he never flicked his stick at all and the horse went as straight as a gun barrel.
“That’s the horse we thought we had. We were very bullish in the spring when he seemed to be going better than Somewhat (who was placed in the Coral-Eclipse). Then both of them did not really live up to expectations in their first couple of runs, but that’s him coming good now.
“The St Leger has got to be the target. We were thinking of that even at the beginning of the year.
“What we do between now and then, we’ll have to go home and have a think about.
“Ground may be an issue as he has run his best races with some cut in the ground, so maybe it was a bit too fast for him at Lingfield and at Ascot perhaps. The Leger has to be the number one target.
“I’ve thought since last year that this was a really classy horse, but lots of classy horses win the Queen’s Vase. I’m not going to belittle the Queen’s Vase.”
By Kevin Walsh / Photo: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
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