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O’Brien has eyes on Turnbull Stakes for El Patroness

3 October 2023 Written by Racing & Sports

The Turnbull Stakes in recent years proven the right formula towards for the Caulfield Cup.

Run over 2000m under set-weights and penalties at Flemington on Saturday, the Turnbull Stakes is often seen as a make-or-break race for a number of spring campaign hopefuls. 

Recent Turnbull Stakes winners Verry Elleegant (2020) and Incentivise (2021) went on to win the Caulfield Cup that same year while Smokin' Romans, who was a $21 longshot when successful last year, went on to run the $3.90 favourite at Caulfield, finishing seventh behind Durston

Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip ran fifth in the Turnbull Stakes before running second at Caulfield two weeks later. 

Trainer Danny O'Brien would like to see El Patroness in the Turnbull on Saturday, but after nominations were taken on Monday, she was number 24 in the order of entry. 

Saturday's race has a field limit of 16 plus four emergencies, although there are a number of runners also entered in The Bart Cummings (2500m) at Flemington and the Hill Stakes (1900m) at Rosehill

One thing that would be in the favour of El Patroness is a wet track and while the weather forecast is for wet weather, Flemington does have brilliant recuperative powers. 

El Patroness heads to the Turnbull Stakes second-up on Saturday after running third first-up at Flemington behind Amelia's Jewel in the Let's Elope Stakes (1400m) on September 16. 

"She was terrific first-up," O'Brien said. 

"The 2000 metres at Flemington is a good set-up for her. She was good in the Australian Cup earlier in the year without any luck and she's come through it well. 

"She's worked super, and I think she can run well in what I think will be a very deep race." 

El Patroness remains in Caulfield Cup contention and O'Brien said Saturday's race will determine whether she heads down that path. 

"The Turnbull usually defines whether you should be running in the Caulfield Cup," O'Brien said. 

"In most years, it's the best form race for the race. 

"If she puts her hand up and runs super in the Turnbull, then I'd certainly have no problem running her in the Caulfield Cup."