Tables turn for Hughie and Hartnell

3 min read
Having haunted Hartnell (GB) (Authorized {Ire}) for so long aboard champion mare Winx (Street Cry {Ire), Hugh Bowman presented the veteran with arguably the highlight of his career with an epic win in the G1 TAB Epsom Hcp.

Hartnell has had a brilliant career, but for years he was known as the horse who couldn’t beat Winx, finishing runner-up four times to her, including in a G1 Cox Plate and a G1 Queen Elizabeth S.

Bowman was aboard Winx all four times she has beaten Hartnell, but the handicap conditions of the Epsom saw him take the reins aboard the 8-year-old on Saturday.

So many times the hero for Chris Waller, on Saturday, he turned the villain. Bowman had ridden both second-placed D'Argento (So You Think {NZ}) and third-placed Unforgotten (Fastnet Rock) at their previous runs but could not get down to their weights.

James Cummings saw the opportunity to put Australia's premier jockey on board and the result was a fairytale win for Godolphin and their warrior.

“It is nice to have Hugh on Hartnell. He’s been the fly in Hartnell’s ointment for a long time, but he’s probably paid Hartnell back in the spades there winning an Epsom on him," Cummings said.

"In classic Hugh style, he just threw everything at him. I think class got him over the line.” James Cummings

The significance of the win for one of the world's biggest racing operations wasn't lost on Bowman, who had won the Epsom on Winx three years ago.

“I know I wear the all blue when I ride Winx but I am very proud to represent Sheikh Mohammed in the Godolphin colours, it’s my first Group 1 win in them and it really does mean a great deal,” Bowman said.

Sweet success for Cummings

The success was particularly sweet for Cummings, who has had to use every bit of his craft, plus the effort of his staff to get Hartnell to peak in the race.

"“I just really can’t believe it, but you know you have belief in your horse and he’s a super horse Hartnell, he’s just had a great build up to this race, had him here third up, it was a bold move running in the Epsom when he could have run at a WFA and a strong chance in the Hill Stakes,” he said.

“He’s not getting any younger, but it’s his fourth Group 1 win in Australia, he was able to win a CF Orr Stakes first up off a disappointing performance in the Melbourne Cup and now he’s won at Epsom third up carrying topweight, it’s pretty exciting.”

Cummings said a chance conversation with Racing Victoria chief handicapper Greg Carpenter a couple of weeks' ago convinced him to have a go at the Epsom.

“He had 57kg, he’s just dropped in the ratings a few points, I had a good chat to Greg Carpenter only a couple of weeks ago and he reminded me these horses are tough, they’re trying to be lured into running in these big handicaps,” he said.

“It’s a massive team effort, there’s the early mornings, there’s the long walks, the attention to detail and I just can’t thank the staff enough,” James Cummings

Cummings paid tribute to the effort of his staff in getting the veteran back to his best at the age of eight.

James Cummings, Christine Bowman & Hugh Bowman

“It’s a massive team effort, there’s the early mornings, there’s the long walks, the attention to detail and I just can’t thank the staff enough,” he said.

“The amount of work and skill they put into a horse like him to peak like that third up, the way he has just done, it’s tremendously exciting.”