TAB Turnbull Stakes Day to deliver a mouth-watering taste of Cup Week
Australian racing’s biggest stars are set to shine at Flemington Racecourse this Saturday 2 October on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day with a thrilling nine-race card that offers a preview to the 2021 Melbourne Cup Carnival.
It’s an important Flemington race day with $3.5m in prize money on offer and marks a turning point for spring contenders with races such as the TAB Turnbull Stakes and The Lexus Bart Cummings providing the last lead up run for many elite gallopers before their grand final races during the celebrated Melbourne Cup Carnival.
The feature race is the TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m), considered a dress rehearsal for a number of major spring races including the Lexus Melbourne Cup. Offering newly increased prizemoney of $1 million, the feature race will be a mouth-watering clash of the best horses in the country including Australia’s current queen of the turf Verry Elleegant, who is looking to give trainer Chris Waller his fifth consecutive win in the TAB Turnbull Stakes. She will have to contend with the rising star of Australian racing Incentivise (Peter Moody), and the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained Group 1 winning duo of Sir Dragonet and Explosive Jack in the highly anticipated race at 3.45PM AEST.
A golden ticket into the 2021 Lexus Melbourne Cup is on offer for stayers in The Lexus Bart Cummings (2520m); the Group 3 race is now worth $750,000 and has attracted the likes of Dawn Patrol and Pondus for Cup-winning trainer Robert Hickmott.. Tralee Rose (Symon Wilde) is a promising stayer who won the Listed Bagot Stakes over 2800m at Flemington on New Year’s Day and is good form, having finished third in her last two starts. Grand Promenade (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) has a great track record at Flemington, with two wins and a second place from four starts.
The Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) for open sprinters will see a rematch between three of the top four placegetters from the recent Group 2 Lexus Bobbie Lewis Quality over the same course and distance. Saturday’s race is run at set weights plus penalties, which is much more in the favour of Flemington straight specialist Zoutori (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra), who heads the market with TAB. Sydney-trained Splintex (Mark Newnham) won the Bobby Lewis ahead of Zoutori but meets him three kilos worse in this race. Away Game (Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) was second in the Bobbie Lewis and was admirable in defeat. Group 1 placegetter Kemalpasa (Richard & Chantelle Jolly) is an interesting runner from South Australia.
The Group 2 VRC members Danehill Stakes (1100m) has moved to this program (previously on Sofitel Girls’ Day Out), and is intended to serve as a stepping-stone for the nation’s best three-year-old sprinters en route to the Group 1 Coolmore Stud Stakes (1200m) on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day. The field for this Saturday is extremely strong and combines some of the best credentialed two-year-olds from last season with some exciting emerging sprinters. Ingratiating (James Cummings) heads the TAB market, having finished in the top three in both the Group 1 Blue Diamon Stakes and the Group 1 Golden Slipper. He showed he was back to his best with a second-place finish in the Listed Winning Edge Poseidon Stakes (1100m) at Flemington last start. The winner of that race, Ranch Hand (Chris Waller) seems much better kept to the shorter sprinting trips this prep than over the longer distances last season. General Beau (Mathew Ellerton & Simon Zahra) has an impressive record of four wins and two seconds from eight career starts, including a win in the Group 3 Blue Diamond Prelude ahead of the exciting Anamoe. Mornington Glory (Matt Laurie) won on debut last start, so this is much tougher but he looked sharp at his sole racetrack appearance. The sole filly in the field, Gimmie Par (Peter Moody) was second on debut in the Listed Talindert Stakes up the straight on Black Caviar, the Great Horse Raceday, and has won both of her starts since.
An extra prize is on the line for the winner the Group 2 Furphy Rose of Kingston Stakes (1410m) in the TAB Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on Penfolds Victoria Derby Day, Saturday 30 October. Tasmanian duo of Mystic Journey (Adam Trinder) and Still A Star (Bill Ryan) were second and third in the Furphy Let’s Elope Stakes at Flemington last start and are well fancied in the TAB market for this race. Annavisto (Mick Price & Michael Kent Junior) is progressing through the grades nicely with an impressive record of 10-5:2:1. Instant Celebrity (Philip Stokes) won the Group 1 Sangster Stakes in May and got too far back last start at Flemington, she should run well here.
The winner of the Group 2 TAB Edward Manifold Stakes (1610m) is also eligible for the $1 million bonus if they progress to win the TAB Empire Rose Stakes. Elusive Express (Anthony & Sam Freedman) hasn’t missed a placing in her three career starts and is the warm TAB favourite in this race. Blueblood Yearning (Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes) is a dual-acceptor at both Flemington and Randwick, and as a daughter of ATC Oaks winner Rising Romance is an interesting filly as an Oaks prospect. Adele Amour (John Sadler) has been running well in metro races in Melbourne.
Race 2, the Listed Kirkland Gold Super Impose Stakes (1800m) will see a field of 14 Penfolds Victoria Derby aspirants take to the track including New Zealand raider Tutukaka (Tony Pike), winner of a Listed race at Eagle Farm over this trip in June. Current TAB favourite is the progressive Gunstock (Mick Price & Michael Kent Junior) who won over 1600m last start and is by the same sire as Mick Price’s 2015 Victoria Derby winner Tarzino. Hitotsu is an interesting runner, having recently moved to the yard of Ciaron Maher & David Eustace and started his campaign with a win for the new stable. Turn It Up Tommy runs for Denis Pagan who famously won the Victoria Derby last year with Johnny Get Angry and is looking to repeat that fairytale result.
The nine-race program begins at 12:10pm with the last race at 5:05pm and those at home can catch all the action live and free on Channel 7, or via RSN and Racing.com.
Image: Verry Elleegant wins the 2020 TAB Turnbull Stakes