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The shape up of the Spring carnival will rely heavily on Turnbull Stakes day at Flemington on Sunday with some key big race aspirants set to stake their claims. With the Melbourne show coinciding with the race day, the meeting will start at 10.30am and finish at 2.40pm Melbourne time.

Form Guide

Race One: Two year old race full of debutantes. Impossible to go in with confidence. The rule I have with these tricky races down the straight at Flemington is look for horses trained on the track. That way, they have had the experience of racing down the straight and they have the edge. The one I’ll be watching closely is Drive. Was given an easy time when finishing fifth behind Holy Right. He is trained by Snowden, would have done plenty of work down the straight course and the stable works wonders with these juveniles. Dangers are Chessmate, Holy Right and Strength.

Race Two: Last chance for a few of these to warrant a crack at next weeks Caulfield Guineas (1600m). I am a fan of Collar. I remember a few weeks ago he had an exhibition gallop with stablemate Efficient and looked to be doing it easy. That was before his first up run at Betfair Park where sort of whacked away for fourth after being left flat footed. The extra 100m helps, as does the bigger surroundings of Flemington. And it helps when boom youngster Moment Of Change isn’t in the field. Exotic players include Rescue Mission, Xavi and Meethaq.

Race Three: Very keen on Niwot due to the fact he steps up to 2500m and he is back to Flemington, where he races best. Only beaten less than three lengths in a bunched finish behind Pinnacles before catching eye late in the Naturalism behind December Draw, weaving his way through the field late. Yendall should give him the run of the race from the plum barrier and with added fitness, he looks extremely hard to hold out. Dangers are Hissing Sid, Above Average and My Scotsgrey.

Race Four: I’ll give Zaira another chance here. Brilliant win first up at Moonee Valley before being flattened in the Let’s Elope and having no hope. She then went to Caulfield and seemingly had her chance behind Zubbaya after settling just off the slow tempo. I think she can control the race here and prove hard to run down. I expect her to get a drag across courtesy of Sophie’s Spirit and with that little bit of give in the track, I think she can win. First four hopes are Lady Lynette, Parables and Booklet.

Race Five: If Celebrity Girl doesn’t have a look around, she’ll win here. She had a look around last start in the Thousand Guineas Prelude and it cost her the race. She should get the gun run for Rodd and seemingly, this is a rather weak edition of the Edward Manifold compared to other years. She has the ability, she should win with normal luck. Dangers are Mosheen, Euryale and Gliding, who’ll appreciate Flemington.

Race Six: No Hay List here to give them a towelling like he did 12 months ago so it is wide open. Call me crazy, but I think Largo Lad can sprint well fresh and win. He has been off the scene since finishing ninth behind So You Think in the Underwood last year. Obviously has his injury problems but he looked in an exhibition gallop recently, indicating a first up win would not surprise. Does have a good record at Flemington and does have a touch of class. Happy to go with him in a very open race. Horses to include are Soul, First Command and Grand Duels.

Race Seven: One of the best fields the Turnbull has assembled in a long time. I have liked Precedence for a while and now that Scarlett Lady is gone for the Spring, I am pinning my hopes on this bloke. Caught the eye in the Memsie before being left behind in the Underwood until he picked up late. 2000m, tick. Flemington, tick. The Bart factor, tick. Barrier, tick. Form, tick. Looks hard to beat at good value. Include Playing God, Linton and Extra Zero in exotic calculations. The jury is still out with December Draw for me. I just feel that he might need this hit out against the big boys. He was very plain in winning the Naturalism. He is massive unders.

Race Eight: Costly Commitment is getting better and better with experience. Got hampered at the 350m last start at Caulfield, picked himself up and kicked right away to record a very soft victory. He’ll lap up the 1800m at Flemington and he looks one of the better bets on the card. Just hope he gets some cover from the awkward barrier. Dangers, if any, are Trump, Scelto and Power Broker, who was dominant on debut at Kembla and can take the next step here.

BEST BET: Race Eight Number 3 Costly Commitment

NEXT BEST: Race Three Number 4 Niwot

VALUE: Race Two Number 6 Collar

Written by Adam Page

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