The Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington is invariably moving day as the spring majors draw near. It is a meeting where trainers of contenders need their horses running well, if not they will be playing catch up in the weeks ahead. The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes boasts a proud history with winners including champion Winx (2017 & 2018), Efficient (2009), Makybe Diva (2005), Northerly (2002) and Sunline (2001). The Group 3 Bart Cummings will also be contested, a race that provides a ‘win and you’re in’ entry into the Melbourne Cup. They are just two races among a star-studded Flemington program.
WALLER HAS STRONG PRESENCE IN TURNBULL STAKES
The might of Chris Waller’s stable will be to the fore in the Turnbull Stakes (2000m) when he shoots for a fifth win in the past six years. The stable won with Preferment in 2015 before Winx in 2017 and 2018 and then Kings Will Dream last year. Kings Will Dream is back again along with three Waller stablemates, Verry Elleegant, Finche and Toffee Tongue. Verry Elleegant is favoured in betting to give Waller another Group 1 success but there will be stiff opposition from Surprise Baby who won The Bart Cummings last year to earn his place in the Melbourne Cup, finishing fifth. Verry Elleegant has been steady in early betting while Surprise Baby has met some support from $7 to $6.50 with Perth visitor Superstorm shortening from $9 into $7.50.
The Bart Cummings holds interest with the race on for a guaranteed Melbourne Cup start. Almandin won the double in 2016 for Robert Hickmott who has Schabau aimed at the two races this year. Schabau shares the top line of betting at $5 with the Chris Waller-trained Shared Ambition who has met with support from $6.50 to $5 after the decision was to bypass The Metropolitan in at Randwick. There has been a nibble at longer odds for Creedence, $17 into $15, as well as Sound at $16.
The Group 2 Gilgai Stakes holds interest for The Everest at Randwick on October 17 with confirmed runners Tofane and Santa Ana Lane engaged. Tofane holds the market lead at $2.90 with Santa Ana Lane trimming up from $4.80 to $4.60. Godolphin galloper Kemantari has also had support from $13 into $12.
Also on Saturday’s program is the running of the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes for three-year-old fillies, the Group 2 Rose Of Kingston Stakes for mares and four other stakes races.
Tofane (NZ), picture Sportpix.com.au
GROUP 1 ACTION AT ROSEHILL
The time honoured Group 1 TAB Epsom and Group 1 The Metropolitan highlight the spring meeting at Randwick with the Flight Stakes, also at Group 1 level for the three-year-old fillies, being run.
Chris Waller has the favourite Star Of The Seas along with six other representatives in the TAB Epsom as he chases a fifth win in the famous mile event. Star Of The Seas has drawn the inside barrier and since Tuesday’s draw has firmed from $6 to $5.
In The Metropolitan, Waller has four runners having sent Shared Ambition to Flemington for The Bart Cummings, but Kris Lees, who also has four runners, has the best backed runner since the final field was announced. As much as $3.70 was bet about Mugatoo who has firmed into $2.90 favourite.
The Group 2 Premiere Stakes holds plenty of interest heading towards The Everest. Nature Strip is the $3.50 top pick for The Everest and a $1.80 top fancy to regain winning form on Saturday after being beaten by Gytrash in the Concorde Stakes on September 5. He is pitted against fellow Everest contender Classique Legend who was impressive in his return win in the Group 2 Shorts on September 19. Classique Legend has trimmed up from $3.20 to $3.
The two-year-olds step out for the first time this season in the Gimcrack Stakes (for the fillies) and the Breeders Stakes (for colts and geldings) while the Group 2 Hill Stakes will also be run on the nine-race card.
EAGLE FARM HOSTS A NINE RACE CARD
Two-year-olds step out in the opening race while the main race on the program is the Spring Cup, a quality handicap over 1400m. Desert Lord, trained by David Vandyke, is an odds-on $1.80 favourite in early betting, however there has been support for Impasse, firming from $16 to $9.