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Turnbull Stakes preview

The footy's over in Melbourne and this is when the spring carnival really gets going. The fields are Flemington tomorrow are top class and to preview the feature race of the day, the Turnbull Stakes, welcome aboard a new contributor - James Barrack. You can follow him via @mountingyard83 or on his new tipping blog.

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Turnbull Stakes

The Turnbull Stakes sees the pinnacle of Australia’s elite Horse flesh do battle for what is one of the most challenging and prestige races on the Group 1 calendar. Traditionally the race sees horses who are progressing onto the Cox Plate and Caulfield / Melbourne Cups. Last year saw the Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon salute and 2010 saw Zipping win then go onto a Cox Plate placing and a solid fourth in the Melbourne Cup.

This edition sees the feature spring race favourites come together in Fiorente, Puissance De Lune, Royal Descent and Super Cool do battle and they all look serious chances to figure in the finish. Some other horses looking to make a claim for further riches include Fawkner, Hawkspur, Happy Trails and Silent Achiever. I don’t see too many surprises occurring and should pretty much go to script providing the race is free of incident and the track plays fairly. Let's rip into them.....

1. Manighar (18) Above average in the right company but looks tested with the big weight and in this sort of race, also has the wide barrier to contend with. Held his ground last time however was right on the speed in a walking race. Is on a Melbourne Cup campaign so will be using this to get the miles into his legs.

2. Sangster (12) Won the VRC Derby as a 3yo however best recent form is in New Zealand and doesn’t appear to have the class to trouble some of these. Similar story to the top weight in terms of a grand final and will be using this race to gain necessary fitness going into the Cup.

3. Happy Trails (6) Multiple Group performer having his fourth run this time in. Put in two solid runs over unsuitable distances early on this campaign and then ground away well just behind the placegetters last start. Has a good win in him this preparation and will get a genuine tempo to reel off a strong finish today. I like him at odds to run a place today and will get a nice run from the barrier.

4. Super Cool (9) High quality runner from the Kavanagh stable 3rd up today. Was terrific behind Atlantic Jewel 1st up and then equally impressive behind a potential champion in Fiorente last time where he stuck some interference late in the peace. Gets out to a suitable trip today and will appreciate the bigger track. I have one or two ahead of him but no denying he is a massive chance in this.

5. Hawkspur (19) The first of the Chris Waller runners here and another one on the Cups Campaign. Put in a solid run two starts back to weave through the field at Randwick and post a solid win and then kept grinding last time behind two top quality mares doing battle today in different races. Seems to be improving with racing and is in the right stable. Has the outside barrier to contend with and looks unders in the betting to my eye but no doubting he has ability.

6. Fiorente (14) Trained by Gai Waterhouse and one of the Cox Plate / Melbourne Cup Favourites here and for good reason. Put in a great 1st up run behind Atlantic Jewel in the Memsie and then blew them away with a strong finish last time in the Feehan Stakes at Moonee Valley. Gets up to the right distance now and is in my top three. Ran a terrific second in last year's Melbourne Cup. Has untapped ability Flemington should really suit him.

7. Puissance De Lune (1) Outstanding horse who is also on the Melbourne Cup mission. Won like a good horse first up over a 1400m then got a questionable ride next start where he took off early and just got nabbed late on the post. Last start was too far back in a walking race and ran terrific sectionals to close off strongly and finish hard behind It's A Dundeel. Is well drawn today and will settle closer to the speed from the barrier. Has an explosive turn of foot. I have him on top and looks the one to beat.

8. Glencadam Gold (15) Another coming into this from the Waterhouse stable, looks to set the pace in this and seems to lack the finishing credentials compared to come of his rivals. If they walk up front then he is a chance to run well but seriously doubt his recent form lines and looks to have easier assignments.

9. Tuscan Fire (20) Benchmark Stayer who is on a Hurdle campaign next season. No.

10. Silent Achiever (13) Top quality mare who comes into this third run from a spell. First run ran into a sea of dead ends in the straight and should have finished a lot closer than she did. Was again impressive in the Underwood behind It's A Dundeel where a lot of these horses are coming from. Has a sense of timing about her and will get more genuine speed to reel off a big finish today. Is drawn a tad awkwardly however will get back. All recent runs have been in WFA quality and drops in weight for this.

11. Fawkner (8) Comes from the Melbourne Cup winning stable of Robert Hickmott who has strategically scratched his other two runners from this race prior to final acceptances. Looks a quality stayer in the making and is on a Melbourne Cup mission. Doubt he is good enough to win this but expect to see him finishing hard.

12. Mr O’Ceirin (10) Comes from a stable of noted staying horses and a young trainer with a lot of ability. Won well last start where he was allowed to dictate the speed and hold off the challenges. Doubt he will get similar conditions today and lacks the brilliance of some others here. Won't be short of fitness but there are easier races for him.

13. Jet Away (3) Good quality imported galloper resuming here from the David Hayes stable. Put two solid wins together earlier this year in his Australian debut campaign and showed plenty of ability to overcome awkward positions to win like a good horse. Those races were nothing like this however and doubt this is his Grand Final but will be no shock to see him be amongst the action which will round him off for his upcoming assignments.

14. Dear Demi (2) Multiple Group race winning mare getting up to her peak fitness. Was OK first up in a mares race and basically finished in the position she raced in behind It's A Dundeel last time to run third but did stick on well and kept coming at the other two. I think she’s more of a 2400m plus horse but never puts in a bad run when she’s fit and is a player for multiples.

15. Quintessential (17) Good quality Kiwi mare having her second start in Victoria. Will go forward and be around the action for a while but doubt the strength of her form and others look to have her measure.

16. Royal Descent (4) The second of the Chris Waller runners who is on a Caulfield Cup mission. Has found one or two better in each start this campaign however put in some effortless wins last preparation where she got up to the right distances and is only getting up to these trips now. Don’t have her in my top four but has a devastating turn of foot and no doubt the trainer will have her fully primed to run at her best and press onto the Cups.

Selections:
1st Puissance De Lune
2nd Fiorente
3rd Happy Trails
4th Super Cool

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