The highlight of a fantastic card of racing, nine individual Group 1 winners will be amongst the capacity field of sixteen that will line up for the half a million dollar Turnbull Stakes. Last’s year’s Turnbull trifecta of Happy Trails ($8.50), Puissance De Lune ($6.00) and Hawkspur ($10.00), all head into this year’s editions with exactly the same respective preparations as they did twelve months ago. Each galloper is going just as well this time around however despite following a proven path, it’s Kris Lees’ mare Lucia Valentina that his the current favourite at $5.50. She returned to racing after a successful autumn with a bang in the Tramway Stakes and her finishing effort in the G1 George Main Stakes last start suggests this trip third up is ideal. Another Kiwi mare Silent Achiever is $7.50 whilst first emergency Stipulate, one of two runners in the race for the Hayes/Dabernig partnership, is the only other runner under double figures odds at $9.00
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1. GREEN MOON – S King (14)
Winner of this race in 2012, he worked home well in restricted room first up in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) to finish three lengths behind Dissident and Fawkner. Ran half a length second to Fiorente second-up last prep in G1 Australian Cup – over this track/trip, and the first up effort was good enough to suggest he’ll be competitive here but it is ten starts now since he won the 2012 Melbourne Cup and the wide draw will not make it easy.
2. HAPPY TRAILS – M Rodd (1)
He won this race fourth up from a spell last year and as followed the same preparation for his defence. He didn’t have a great deal of luck two runs back in the Memsie and was then out-bobbed on the line by Foreteller, who saved vital ground along the fence rounding the turn, in the G1 Underwood (1800m). Going just as well as last year and only needs a touch of luck from the inside draw to figure again.
3. SUPER COOL – G Boss (4)
Continues to improve with each run back from a long spell the most recent of which saw him close well from the back of the field to run sixth (2.4 lengths) to Foreteller in the G1 Underwood Stakes. Building nicely and whilst the 2000m on the bigger Flemington circuit will be to his liking, he may need a touch further still.
4. HAWKSPUR – J Cassidy (13)
Won the Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) two starts back and then ran fourth in the G1 George Main (1600m), exactly the same results as his lead-up to this race last year when running an unlucky third to Happy Trails and Puissance De Lune. Had to make is run early in the George Main after the leaders had a good time of things up front and battled on well. Ready for the 2000m trip now and will be finishing hard.
5. THE OFFER – T Berry (15)
Rounded out last campaign with a clean sweep of the Sydney staying features, an accomplishment that has seen top the early markets for this year’s Melbourne Cup. His two runs back from a spell suggest that he is heading in the right direction and consists of a fast finishing fifth (1.6 lengths) in the Dato Tan and although finishing ninth in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) last start, his run was just as good as it was his first look at Caulfield and he had to circle the field. Will be giving them all a start again here and will take a huge effort to run some top-liners down but sure to be running on well late.
6. SILENT ACHIEVER – D Oliver (7)
After running home well along the fence first up to secure fourth placing behind Dissident in the G1 Memsie Stakes, the champion New Zealand mare was installed the 5/2 favourite for the Underwood Stakes at her following start. From an inside draw she found a lovely spot midfield in the running line but second up over 1800m, might’ve just felt the pinch late, finishing fifth (2.1 lengths) behind Foreteller and Happy Trails. Won the G1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) third up last prep and sure to have her share of admirers for this race but has surprisingly, only won one of eight starts in Melbourne.
7. SERTORIUS – R Maloney (16)
He got a long way back in a race dominated by those up front but finished well first up when sixth (4.2 lengths) to Dissident in the Memsie Stakes (1400m). He was then caught a little deep for the second half of the Makybe Diva Stakes and just held his spot in the run to the line, finishing seventh (3.2 lengths) behind Dissident once again. Started last campaign in better style but wasn’t able to secure a win and whilst the first two runs have been excusable, like to see him going a better for a race like this.
8. PUISSANCE DE LUNE – B Rawiller (8)
Trainer Darren Weir has given this much talked about grey the same preparation has he did last year leading into this race when he finished a head second to Happy Trails. Found a nice spot in the run and chased home Dissident (2.5 lengths) when third in the G1 Memsie Stakes before getting closer to the same horse (0.9 lengths) in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m). Racing like the 2000m will be ideal, drawn handy enough in eight which should see him find a spot midfield and get a nice track into the race. Will go close.
9. LIDARI – (11)
Found a good spot midfield in the running line when contesting the Dato Tan (1600m) second up from a spell but the bold front-runner The Cleaner setting a solid pace from a long way out, might have been a bit gassed over the final stages and finished a respectable fourth (1.3 lengths). He then drew the fence in the Underwood Stakes and although second in the run, with the leader racing several horses off the fence, he was basically the leader. Couldn’t hold of the challenges of Happy Trails and Foreteller late, running fourth (1.9 lengths). At the elite level, just finding a few on the day better than him.
10. THOUGTH WORTHY – N Hall (9)
First up off a thirteenth month spell in the G1 Underwood Stakes, not much was expected this 6yo former import and not much was delivered. He found a spot handy to the lead early but was under pressure a long way out from home and dropped out to run last, over nine lengths behind Happy Trails. That was his third Australian start and none of them have been appealing.
11. SHOREHAM – C Symons (12)
Will find this, his first attempt at an open Group 1, tough given that he hasn’t won a race in his last twelve outings and that his two runs in this time in haven’t been good. First up he was ninth (3.8 lengths) in the Listed The Sofitel (1400m) behind Late Charge before battling from a position just behind the pace, to run seventh and close to ten lengths behind Kenjorwood in an Open Handicap. Not here.
12. ENTIRELY PLATINUM – D Dunn (8)
As expected when sent out the 8/11 on favourite, he won an Open handicap at Rosehill (1400m) in comfortable fashion before finding the heavy conditions of the G2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) not to his liking, running last of eight and seven lengths behind Hawkspur. The Hawkes Racing galloper then ventured south to Caulfield for the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) and after nice run in transit, failed by the narrowest of margins to haul in Gris Caro and finish second. This is a step up again on that race and would want to see him prove himself at this level before adding him to the selections.
13. GRIS CARO – B Melham (6)
Earned himself a spot in this year’s Caulfield Cup with a tough win in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) last start. At his third run back from a spell the former French galloper settled on the speed and toughed it out well to defeat Entirely Platinum by a nose. Will push forward again but this time, be kept far more honest in front and find it a lot tougher to hold the challengers at bay.
14. CRACKERJACK KING – M Walker (19)- SCRATCHED
Led but raced several horses off the fence in the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) last start and stuck on very well to hang in for third (1.1 lengths) behind Foreteller and Happy Trails. That was his third Australian run for the imported galloper trained by the Hayes/Dabernig partnership and he has shown significant improvement with each outing. Would think the 2000m, a distance he landed a G1 win over in Italy will suit, the outside gate in a big field however, will not.
15. BRAMBLES – (3)
Rewarded the patience of his connections and landed his first win since completing the clean sweep of 3yo races during the Brisbane carnival in 2012, with a nose win over Big Memory in an Open Handicap at Caulfield (1700m) three weeks ago. Under 60kgs and from an on-pace position, it was a deserved win and continued his improved performances since returning from a lengthy lay-off however. Draws well here and drop to 54kgs – can run a cheeky race at odds.
16. LUCIA VALENTINA – K McEvoy (5)
The G1 Vinery Stakes winner from last season returned to racing in spectacular fashion, winning the G2 Tramway Stakes on her preferred wet track with a barnstorming final 100m, defeating Tiger Tees by 1.5 lengths. She then settled last in the G1 George Main Stakes and angled out turning for home to be the widest runner at the 250m. When clear and balanced, she finished strongly in a race dominated by those close to the speed and to the fence running sixth (2.7 lengths). Has come back in exceptional order, third 2000m is ideal and any cut out of the track will only further enhance or already strong claims.
17. STIPULATE – C Williams (10) 1st EM
The 6yo Dansili gelding won the Listed Australian Bloodstock Stakes (1700m) first up with a great deal of authority, running strongly through the line to record a 1.8 length win over Brambles – who won his next start. He then contested the G1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) and secure a lovely run into the straight behind race favourite Silent Achiever but under the WFA conditions and against a better class, could only inch is way to the line and run seventh (2.7 lengths) behind Foreteller. Weight scale of this race is more favourable and third up over 2000m is spot on. Kept safe in the markets at $9.00 and will create plenty of interest should he get a run.
18. LET’S MAKE ADEAL – J Winks (17)
She was starting to warm to the task nicely over the final stages second up in the Listed Australian Bloodstock Stakes (1700m) when sixth behind Stipulate. She then lined up in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m) but soon after straightening for the run home copped interference and again inside the last 100m, forcing her to pull out a tight space and cross the line in tenth spot (3.7 lengths). No luck last time and should’ve finished much closer. Going well but would prefer her in something easier than this.
19. ALBONETTI – D Yendall (18)
Had only won three of fifteen – all on country circuits, prior to this commencement of this campaign but seems to have really his straps this time in. A good win first up at Morphettville was followed by an eye-catching third to Longshoreman in the Balaklava Cup (1600m) before again standing out with a late finishing burst that saw him, at 60/1, flash home for fourth (1.2 lengths) behind Gris Caro in the G3 Naturalism Stakes (2000m). An effort made even more commendable by the fact that it was run to suit those close to the speed. Going well but even if he does get a run here, will find this too tough but is to kept a close watch on in other races he contests.
RACE OVERVIEW AND SELECTIONS
Great race and happy to stick with the proven recipe here and work around Hawkspur, Happy Trails and Puissance De Lune with a leaning to the latter two due to assigned weight. Happy Trails is up 2kgs on last year whilst Hawkspur rises 1kg and Puissance De Lune stays the same. Each are going just as well, arguably even better, than at this stage last year and are proven performers at this level. Thought Lucia Valentina’s run in the G1 George Main was just as good as her first up win but from gate five, they’ll make sure the favourite has to earn her runs in the straight.
- PUISSANCE DE LUNE
- HAPPY TRAILS
- LUCIA VALENTINA