The great mare will be lining up for just her second ever race appearance at Flemington as she looks to defend her Turnbull Stakes victory of 2017. Victory will see the mare become the first horse in 30 years to win the race in successive years, with Vo Rogue the last to complete the feat. Third up for this campaign she cruised home to victory in the Winx Stakes at 1400m Stepped out to the mile with a 4 week break between runs, she took on the George Main second-up and from barrier 3 was perhaps a little further back in the run than many thought she would have been. That mattered little as soon as Bowman asked her to change gears, she displayed her customary show of pace to break their hearts in the space of five strides. Victory will give the great mare 28 successive victories and provide Hugh Bowman with his 25th successive win aboard the mare. With her form looking as strong as ever how do her opponents find a way to beat her?
On a path towards the Melbourne Cup, the Weir trained Irish import has missed a placing just once in eleven career starts. That ‘miss’ came at his first-up run this campaign in the G2 PB Lawrence when finishing just 0.7 lengths from the winner Showtime. Last campaign the gelding secured five successive wins after arriving in Australia, progressing through his classes to be sent to the paddock following victory in the Listed Mornington Cup. Resuming with his close up 4th in the Lawrence, he tackled the Memsie second-up when beaten a neck behind the winner Humidor. Out to the mile last start for the Makybe Diva, once again he was flashing home in the closing stages to grab 2nd place behind Grunt. He drops back from WFA to 56.5kg here with the rise to the 2000m also favouring him. At Flemington his record from 3 starts reads a pair of wins and the Makybe Diva 2nd with Craig Williams to ride the chestnut for the first time. Well supported in Melbourne Cup markets, he has obvious X Factor.
Well beaten in last year’s Melbourne Cup, the Hayes/Dabernig trained gelding looks to be on a similar path from 2017 as he builds towards another Cup run. Returning in the Autumn, the gelding was a 1.25 length 3rd when second-up in the G1 Australian Cup. A further four starts for his campaign returned a best finish of a head 2nd in the G2 Chairmans at Randwick before his prep ended following a Sydney Cup run. Returning for the Spring in the Listed Heatherlie Handicap, he carried 59.5kg when running smartly to the line and beaten two lengths. Second-up in the Naturalism, the effort was sound at the 2000m. His 2017 prep saw a Heatherlie run under 60kg followed by the mile of the Makybe Diva prior to finishing runner-up to Winx in this same race. Dropping to 54.5kg for this assignment, just a half-kilo heavier than he carried in the 2017 Caulfield and Melbourne Cups, the opening price of $51 could just be a small snippet of value.
The O’Reilly entire will be on the six-day back-up after taking on the Underwood Stakes at Caulfield last Sunday. Ridden closer to the speed, Damien Oliver had the 4YO in front early, a position he has not been in this preparation. When the speed went on at the turn, he didn’t have much to offer and went to the line 4.5 lengths from the winner Homesman. If anything, that start solidified the view that he does not perform his best at The Heath, with all three unplaced runs in his career all coming at Caulfield and all coming in his past four starts. When second-up into the Memsie, the effort was questionable when looking to be flat the closing 250m and finishing 2.75 lengths from the winner Humidor. Stepped up to the mile third-up for the Makybe Diva, he proved his penchant for the Flemington surface with a stylish two length victory. With three wins from four appearances at Flemington, this will be his first look at 2000m. The 4YO will carry the top-weight of 58kg under the set weights and penalties conditions.
The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes is run over 2000m at Flemington and is a major lead-in race for some of the main races of the Spring Racing Carnival including the Cox Plate, Caulfield and Melbourne Cups. The race has a long history and dates back to 1865 when first run as the Royal Park Stakes. The race was renamed in 1948 to honour then Victorian Racing Club Chairman Richard Turnbull.
The race has had various distance amendments over the years, run over as far as 3200m and as short as 1600m. In 1972 it became a 2000m event where it has remained since. Conditions of the race are set weights plus penalties, making it the only race on the Australian G1 calendar over the distance with those conditions.
Total prizemoney on offer will be $500,000 with the winner to receive $300,000. The 2017 winner was Winx, trained by Chris Waller and ridden by Hugh Bowman. Other past winners include Preferment, Green Moon, Efficient, Makybe Diva, Sunline, Northerly and Super Impose.
Odds and previews are available for all the major Spring Racing Carnival races at UBET's Spring Racing Betting Hub.
|Date:||Saturday 6th October 2018|
|Race Time:||15:00 AEST|
|2018 Turnbull Stakes Odds|