McEvoy and Hartnell set for G1 success

Mike Hedge

It is four years since Kerrin McEvoy rode his last G1 winner for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed – but his next could come as soon as Saturday when he rides Hartnell in the Makybe Diva Stakes at Flemington.

“It’s pretty exciting to get the call up for such a high-quality horse as Hartnell,” McEvoy said.

“I rode him for the first time in a jump out at Flemington last month and even though we weren’t out to do anything spectacular, he gave me a really good feel, the feel of a top horse.”

McEvoy rode more than 500 winners around the world – including 29 G1s - for Sheikh Mohammed during a 12-year stint that ended in 2014.

Among his major race wins were the 2005 G1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Dubawi and the G1 St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Shamardal.

In Australia McEvoy won the G1 Caulfield Cup for Godolphin on All The Good in 2008 as well as capturing the G1 Blue Diamond and G1 Golden Slipper double on Sepoy in 2011. His last G1 winner for Sheikh Mohammed was Guelph in the 2013 Thousand Guineas.

“I received an amazing opportunity to ride for Godolphin all around the world and to have another opportunity to win a G1 race for Sheikh Mohammed is an incredible privilege.”

Hartnell marked his seasonal debut with victory in the G2 PB Lawrence Stakes at Caulfield last month with a performance McEvoy described as “sparkling”.

“He certainly showed he’d come back in the same form that he showed last spring,” he said.

“It was impossible to fault that win and he can only have been improved by it.”

Hartnell has been handicapped to carry 57.5kg in this year’s G1 Melbourne Cup, a half-kilo less than the top weight Order Of St George. He is topweight for the Caulfield Cup with 58kg.