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Turnbull Stakes preview

Turnbull Stakes day, recognised as the key fork in the road leading into the spring features. Looks set to be a glorious day at Flemington tomorrow, if you're in town there's no excuse not to be there! Mitch Nicholls, @mitchnicholls1 takes the reins to preview the feature race of the day.

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2014 Group One Turnbull Stakes
Flemington 2000m
Set weights and penalties
4:20pm Melbourne time (0720 London)


What a fantastic edition! The Turnbull Stakes is a race to keep a keen eye on, usually being a good reference for the Cox Plate, Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup. The Turnbull should be a good pointer of what the best form is so far, with runners from the Underwood and The Makybe Diva Stakes lining up against each other. With a raceday forecast of 27C, this year’s edition looks like it’ll be run a Good3/Dead4 track.

Speed: Looks to be genuine with the likes of Entirely Platinum pushing across from barrier 8, Hawkspur could push forward or go back pending if he jumps cleanly form barrier 13. Silent Achiever should sit in the first three or four. Happy Trails and Puissance De Lune should both hold a prominent position from barriers 1 and 2 respectively.

Can’t believe the price about the Paul Beshara trained Happy Trails! Currently $7.00/$2.50 (TAB Fixed odds) he looks to be the value runner. His run in the Underwood Stakes behind Foreteller was fantastic, only beaten a head. This 7 year old gelding will improve stepping out to the spacious 2000m Flemington circuit, where he won this race last year carrying 57.5kgs. My slight query is the task of having to lump 59kgs, but in saying that, he won’t get posted wide from barrier 1 and should get a gun run to compensate the weight.

Four year old mare Lucia Valentina gets her chance to showcase her staying ability with only 53.5kgs. She was an impressive winner first up, and then hit the line nicely in the George Main Stakes making up ground late. She’s drawn perfectly in gate 5 and should settle midfield. It’s been widely reported that she’s suffered bruising to the off foreleg so do keep that in mind.

Puissance De Lune steps out to a suitable trip and carries the same weight as what he did in this race last year, where he was only beaten a head by Happy Trails. Meets Happy Trails 2.5kgs better off, and he’s been heavily backed to win this. I still don’t believe he’s good enough to win even with that favourable weight swing.

Green Moon steps up to a more suitable trip second up off a good first up run behind Dissident, where he was beaten a respectable 2.9 lengths. He was doing his best work late, and his stats over 2000m at Flemington read well, having won this race in 2012.

The 2012 Australian Cup winner Super Cool has been racing himself into fitness and gets back on to his home track. I’m expecting to see an improved run here, but feel he is more a staying type now and needs 2400m to show his best form.

Hawkspur gets out to 2000m and looks ready to fire. His runs in Melbourne haven’t been the best, but ran a super race in last year’s edition beaten 0.60 lengths. Much better suited to the 2000m races, and is a place hope.

The Offer gets out to the big spacious Flemington track and a more suitable distance. His run first-up behind The Cleaner was fantastic, then second-up looked a bit one-paced in Underwood Stakes beaten three lengths behind Foreteller and Happy Trails. I suspect this is a tick over run and look for him over further and perhaps on a wet track.

The 2014 BMW winner Silent Achiever was a beaten $3.40 favourite in the Underwood Stakes last start, where she looked a bit one-paced. From barrier 7 she should settle a lot closer than last start, and run an improved race. I think she’s a better horse in Sydney.

The Peter Moody-trained Lidari is ticking over nicely, and hasn’t been beaten far this prep. Last start behind Foreteller he battled on well to be only beaten 1.25 lengths in the Underwood Stakes. Steps out to a suitable 2000m, and has only missed the placings once at Flemington. I wouldn’t write him off with 55.5kgs.

Thought Worthy Comes into this second up and I think he’ll struggle to beat the ambulance home.

Shoreham Outclassed.

Entirely Platinum stays at the 2000m and drops a handy 2kgs from last start where he was nabbed late by Gris Caro. Has ability and could give a good sight at $15.

Gris Caro comes into this a last start winner of the Naturalism stakes. Has shown good staying ability and if his going be a Caulfield cup horse, you want to see him attacking the line well.

Brambles, the second of the Peter Moody trained horses looks slightly outclassed in this, but has shown good staying ability as a young horse. Was a brave winner last start, and only carries 54.5kgs here. I wouldn’t be shocked if he runs a big race here.

The David Hayes (and Tom Dabernig)-trained import Stipulate gets a run after the scratching of his stablemate Crackerjack King. Gets out to a suitable trip and must be some chance off his third behind Our Voodoo Prince in the Easter Cup back in the winter.

Forget that Lets Make Adeal went around last start. She got checked several times and was never a winning hope after that. Has shown great staying ability, and I think she’s the best roughie of the race at $41/$11

Albonetti (EMG) Looks outclassed here, needs another scratching to get a run.

Key Stats:
• In the last 10 years, four out of the ten favourites have won
• Only one horse won carrying 59kgs in the past 10 years (Efficient)
• Since 1983, only five mares have won the Turnbull: Just Now, Let’s Elope, Makybe Diva, Sunline and Devil Moon.

Suggested Bet: I’m happy to back 1 Happy Trails E/W and play quinellas with 1, 2, 8 & 16

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