Flemington: Turnbull Stakes Day, 6 Oct 2018
This Saturday at Flemington is Turnbull Stakes Day. Champion mare Winx returns, as she uses the Turnbull Stakes as a stepping stone toward a fourth successive tilt at the W.S Cox Plate in three weeks time. There are 9 events on the race day card.
These include The Bart Cummings, where the winner receives an automatic qualification into the Melbourne Cup. It will be a keenly contested staying race with many chances, making for a good betting race. Boom Godolphin galloper Avilius looks like a star in the making.
The Group 2 Gilgai Stakes will be run down the 1200m straight-six, the Edward Manifold Stakes for 3.y.o fillies, the UCI Stakes for 3.y.o colts, finishing up with the Blazer Stakes over 1400m for the mares.
Trainers and their horses will use today’s races as a tune-up for the Melbourne Cup four day carnival beginning on VRC Derby Day.
Flemington Race 1: MARIBYRNONG TRIAL STAKES (2.y.o)
Race Time: 12:30 PM
The first race of the day is a short sprint for first-time starters. It’s a lottery trying to pick form when there is none. In these cases, trials, breeding and trainers help play a part in discerning the wheat from the chaff. We’ll stick our finger out to the breeze and plump for recent Cranbourne trial winner MOCKERY, with Godolphin entrant MERCURY and Zoustar colt SUN CITY to round it out. As mentioned, it’s a lottery.
BFF Picks: Mockery, Mercury, Sun City.
Flemington Race 2: ANTLER LUGGAGE STAKES
Race Time: 1:05 PM
Kiwi filly PEACEFUL looks the one to beat after pre-race favourite Yulong January was scratched. From the Baker/Forsman team, she was pulled from the One Thousand Guineas Prelude last weekend, preferring instead to go around in this. Already the winner of a listed race back in NZ, should go close. The big threat comes from Godolphin colt RANIER who has gone close to winning in four starts but remains a maiden. The Hawkes trained WILD PLANET is also attracting good support, cracking his maiden last start after some encouraging signs in an earlier prep. These are the three for me.
BFF Picks: Peaceful, Rainer, Wild Planet
Flemington Race 3: FURPHY PARIS LANE STAKES
Race Time: 1:40 PM
Darren Weir galloper PLAIN CIEL has strong form leading into this, though his last start resumption at Newcastle was a huge disappointment. This race is more to his liking I think and will be looking to bounce back to form. From 11 starts, has only been out of the money once. Two of the more credentialled runners here are SOVEREIGN EDITION and ECKSTEIN. The former has raced in numerous Group 1 races, best result a second to Tosen Stardom in last years Toorak Handicap. The latter placed second behind Shoals in last years Myer Classic on VRC Derby Day at decent odds of 40/1. Both are capable, and in a lesser grade race like this, should feature. HOLBIEN is another to consider, carrying less weight than he did last start.
BFF Picks: Plain Ciel, Sovereign Nation, Eckstein
Flemington Race 4: UCI STAKES
Race Time: 2:20 PM
This race is a good VRC Derby prelude. However, not many have run over the 1800m distance, so it will be new ground for some. The Darren Weir colt SAVOIE is one who who has, and won. There are several Weir runners here, including likely second favourite EXTRA BRUT. He has a wide barrier to contend with and will need to make his own luck. A third Weir colt is APPROACH DISCRET who has placed at the 1800m. THUNDERDOME is trained on the track and is compiling a nice record. My roughie in the race is LOUIE THE LEGEND. I like the way the Bussuttin/Young stable manage their three-year-olds, and he was placed last start.
BFF Picks: Savoie, Thunderdome, Louie The Legend
Flemington Race 5: TAB TURNBULL STAKES (GRP1)
Race Time: 3:00 PM
The Turnbull Stakes should be just a training exercise for champion WINX. There are some good horses in this race, but their credentials don’t really figure in the scheme of things. GRUNT is a much better horse at Flemington, but the proof will be when they hit the clocktower with a furlong to go. I am interested to see how both KINGS WILL DREAM and JON SNOW fare in this. Both will appreciate the longer trip in preparation for the Caulfield Cup in a fortnight. If there is any give in the track come Saturday they would appreciate it. The rest? They are making up the numbers.
BFF Picks: Winx, Grunt, Kings Will Dream
Flemington Race 6: GILGAI STAKES
Race Time: 3:40 PM
The Gilgai has evened up somewhat after the scratching of pre-race favourite OSBORNE BULLS. The money is spread evenly among several contenders including DOTHRAKI, two Sydney visitors DREAMFORCE and I AM EXCITED. Local hope BONS AWAY will appreciate a good surface, while lightly raced five-year-old Cranbourne galloper EDUARDO (just the three starts) could be the surprise packet.
BFF Picks: Eduardo, Dreamforce, I Am Excited
Flemington Race 7: THE BART CUMMINGS
Race Time: 4:20 PM
As all eyes lead to the Melbourne Cup, local punters are keen to observe whether the Godolphin stable finally has a horse capable of landing the big prize on the first Tuesday in November. AVILIUS has been ticking all the boxes so far, and his last start demolition win in the Kingston Town Stakes was a sight to behold. Not many others are in single digit odds, one of those is former Kiwi stayer YOGI now with the Weir stable. Has good form overall but this is a rise in class. The former British stayer OUR VENICE BEACH has won over the distance, and being a Lloyd Williams horse, should be right in the frame for this. Others to watch for: former NZ Derby placegetter RISING RED, Lindsay Park’s JAMEEH and another former British prospect from the Waterhouse/Bott stable HUSH WRITER. Whoever wins this, gets a free pass into the Melbourne Cup, so it will be all on.
BFF Picks: Avilius, Our Venice Beach, Rising Red
Flemington Race 8: EDWARD MANIFOLD STAKES
Race Time: 5:00 PM
Darren Weir has the three top chances in this race for the fillies. AMPHITRITE, KRONE and Kiwi filly VERRY ELLEEGANT. The latter has just moved over from the Shakey Isles after an impressive showing in three starts. Can’t wait to see how she goes down the long straight. Krone has raced in quality company so has the best credentials, while taking nothing away from Amphitrite’s form either. Of the others, local Victorians YULONG METEOR, OREGONS’ DREAMER and DARK CONFIDANT will be odds-movers by race-time.
BFF Picks: Verry Elleegant, Krone, Amphitrite
Flemington Race 9: BLAZER STAKES
Race Time: 5:40 PM
A classy line-up of Group winning mares is assembled for the last. At least four of them are resuming, so that may count against them up against those who have already hit their straps. Likely favourite is expected to be Lindsay Park’s TULIP who cleaned up in her last start. Should go close again. The two Sydney mares INVINCIBELLA (Waller stable) and SAVATIANO (Godolphin) are consistent, and should figure in the finish. I like another Lindsay Park mare LA BELLA DIOSA who’s first run back this prep was an impressive win. Wasn’t far from the finish at her last start, and races well in all conditions. Roughie of the race: SHOKO with gun jockey Linda Meech aboard. Has the makings of a good race this.
BFF Picks: Tulip, Invincibella, La Bella Diosa