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Image: Sarah Ebbett

Courageous and competitive until the end, grand campaigner Hartnell has signed off from racing with a gallant third in the $2 million Group One Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.

The Godolphin team announced in the lead-up to Saturday’s Mackinnon that the 2000m weight-for-age race would be the final start of the nine-year-old import’s racing career.

And the multiple Group One winner gave his fans plenty to cheer about again as he raced just behind leader Gailo Chop and then hit the front early in the home straight.

Irish mare Magic Wand then levelled up to Hartnell near the 200m and edged away to win by a length, with star New Zealand mare Melody Belle charging home to pip Hartnell for second on the line.

Hartnell finishes his racing career with 13 wins and another 23 placings from 58 starts, amassing almost $7.5 million in stakes.

“Superb effort,” jockey Hugh Bowman said as he returned to scale aboard Hartnell after the Mackinnon.

“He’s just a warrior.”

Godolphin trainer James Cummings said Hartnell once again gave his all.

“And he was worth a cheer there half way up the straight,” Cummings said.

“The guys have done a great job with him and it was a fitting send off for him to have performed so well.

“He’s a beautiful horse. I’m pleased to see the horse pull up well and I’m sure Hugh is going to be glowing in his praise for his effort.

“He’s been a wonderful horse for our stable and we’ll miss him dearly.”

Hartnell contested 34 Group One races, winning four and placing in another 14.

The gelding will join Godolphin’s Lifetime Care program and be retrained as a show horse, with senior foreman Reg Fleming to be his custodian.

Fleming led Hartnell back in after Saturday’s Mackinnon.

HARTNELL

* Bay gelding – 9yo

* 58 starts: 13 wins; 14 seconds; 9 thirds

* Prize money: $7,469,499

* 10 stakes wins – 4 Group One; 2 Group Two; 3 Group Three; 1 Listed

* Started in 34 Group One races, finishing in the top three placings 18 times

* His placings include 3rd in the 2016 Melbourne Cup and 2nd in the 2016 Cox Plate

Group One wins

* 2015 BMW Stakes 2000m

* 2016 Turnbull Stakes 2000m

* 2017 CF Orr Stakes 1400m

* 2018 Epsom Handicap 1600m

 
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