Welcome to our horse racing preview and betting tips for racing at Flemington on Saturday, October 3rd.
The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes headlines a nine-race card at headquarters, where a number of quality fields have been assembled. The track is rated a Good 4 with the rail out 7m.
Trent Crebbin has assessed every race at Flemington below, including the G1 Turnbull Stakes.
Flemington Racing Tips: 2020 Turnbull Stakes Day
Best Bet: Race 4 (4) Tofane
Best Value: Race 5 (7) Silhouette
(1) General Beau looks very hard to beat in the first. He just looks like a very professional 2yo, and his win on debut here over 900m was very good. He was a dominant favourite there and did everything right, recording a soft victory by 2.25L. It’s hard to make a case for anything turning the tables from that race, and the debutants would need to be quit talented to trouble him. The benefit of race experience, especially down the straight which can be tricky for young horses, will hold him in good stead, and unless there’s a big spruik on a newcomer I expect General Beau to start closer to odds on than the $2.70 available. Of those newcomers, (10) Excella Bella from the Waterhouse/Bott team has to be respected, as does (11) Fake Love for Zahra and Maher/Eustace. Pretty keen General Beau gets the job done in the opener though.
Handy little race and it’ll be interesting to see the colts v fillies. (8) September Run is the favourite off a very good win at this T/D last start, beating Swats That who came out and won very impressively at The Valley last week. I think she’s a deserved favourite here, but she just looks a touch short for me considering her SP against (7) Minhaaj last start where she was given a peach of a ride by Willo. There will be no slipping away up the inside this time with September Run drawn out wide with (2) Valaquenta. That horse was good first up and arguably should’ve won after getting into a bumping duel with (5) Portland Sky in the straight whilst the winner sailed by. Valaquenta was coming again late and only missed by 0.2L. The step up to 1100m suits and whilst he’s never seen the straight track, I don’t think it’ll be an issue. I think Olly will try and follow Willo on September Run wherever that filly goes and try to get her on the line, and at the better odds I’ll be siding with Valaquenta. Portland Sky was very unlucky trying to shoulder out in that race and has claims, but wasn’t a moral beaten or anything and does have a length or so to make up. The one at value that could bob up is (11) Island Joy. This filly has had three career starts and did start $4.20 favourite against Valaquenta when they met at Caulfield but had the pattern against her that day. She then went to The Valley over 1200m and was only run down by Crosshaven, who bolted in with the Exford Plate and Guineas Prelude. She seems a big price at $18 with Jamie Kah taking the ride.
Value: (11) Island Joy $18
Tricky race. If (4) Begood Toya Mother brings his best, it’s close to game over. This is probably D-Day but looking at his runs this prep it’s easy to make a case for him here. He ran well first up beaten less than 2L by Viridine, then ran 4th to Behemoth in the Memsie, beaten less than 3L, and last start in the Rupert Clarke he was a touch slow away and wasn’t able to lead, racing tight in the straight and fading to finish 13th, beaten 3.4L. This is obviously a much easier race, and although I didn’t love how he ran through the line last start, the race was basically over. Expect aggressive tactics here which should see him lead comfortably. I’m more than happy to lay (10) Fascino who looks very short. Yes, she was unlucky last start, but she was still beaten 3L by Fabric and Parmie. It was a bm90 mare’s race and now she jumps to a listed handicap against the boys. The clear danger to Begood Toya Mother is (12) Legionnaire who comes here third up. He was just run off his feet staying at 1200m last start behind Ancestry but was strong late and will love the 1400m here. He has a win at this T/D, but it was narrow and in an Exford Plate against Snapdancer and Tenley, starting $31. The big watch is (8) Munitions first up in Australia for Godolphin. Olly takes the ride, and the form around this guy reads very well. He’s been well beaten margins wise in his last three, but they were all in group ones. His run two back when 4th, beaten 6.5L by Too Darn Hot, with Space Blues in 2nd was good because they are world class gallopers. He hasn’t raced for over a year so it’s hard to get a gauge on him but if he’s firm in the market you probably have to chop out on him. Very tough race, and the potential headwind could be another issue, but I’ll give Begood Toya Mother one last chance down in grade.
(4) Begood Toya Mother
Good race the Gilgai, with two horses on their way to The Everest at Randwick later this Spring. The first of those is out favourite in (4) Tofane who comes here second up after a good run in the Bobbie Lewis first up. She was only 0.3L off (2) Zoutori there and I’m very confident she turns the tables. Under the weight conditions here she gets a 3kg swing for a very narrow defeat, and she’s a much better horse 2nd up with 2 wins from 3 starts. Zoutori is a much better fresh horse too, so I’d be shocked if Tofane doesn’t finish ahead of all her rivals from that race, with the possible exception of (8) Dollar For Dollar who ran very well in the Rupert Clarke last start. He drops back to 1200m which I’m not sure is a positive, and Tofane does meet him 2kg better for beating him home last start. Dollar For Dollar does get an easy lead, however. The different form comes from the second Everest contender in (6) Santa Ana Lane. He ran 2nd in this race last year to Sunlight in a great performance before running 2nd in The Everest to Yes Yes Yes. There are question marks on how he’s going at the moment though. His run behind Nature Strip in the TJ Smith was good, beating home Tofane, but he was poor in the All Aged (won by Tofane) and was below his best in the Goodwood despite only being beaten 3L. He is generally better with a run under his belt, but he didn’t have an Everest slot until very recently, so you’d expect him to be fairly forward here. He’s the best horse in this race and gets in incredibly well at the weights with 57kg, but it’s just a watch for me. (7) Kementari comes to Melbourne with Pikey on board. He’ll suck some in again and isn’t hopeless. Tofane clearly looks the horse to beat, and whilst the opening price has been snapped up, I can’t make a case for anything other than Santa Ana Lane, who I have queries on, so Tofane is the one.
We’ve seen numerous times already this Spring that the Sydney form stacks up in Melbourne, especially in the 3yo ranks, and I think (1) Thermosphere is a horse that can continue the trend. Her run first up behind Dame Giselle was excellent, and her two runs since against that horse have been solid. She just got too far back from the widest barrier in the Furious stakes but ran on well solidly, before racing 3 wide no cover in the Tea Rose last start but only finishing 4.3L off Dame Giselle and 3.8L off Hungry Heart, who will likely quinella the group 1 Flight Stakes at Randwick. I don’t think the 1600m will pose an issue, and whilst she does draw barrier 11 of 16 here, she could just be too good for these. Ideally Lane gets her in a 3 wide line off midfield, blends into the race and proves too strong. The favourite here and probably the best credentialed Melbourne filly is (5) Succeed Indeed who won impressively last start at Sandown over the 1600m. Barrier one is a big negative for her as all her runs have come when looping the field from the rear, and she beat nothing in that race. Happy enough to take her on, especially when her best map is 3 back the fence. The Godolphin stablemate (7) Silhouette could be a danger at odds. She just got too far back after jumping poorly but did run the fastest last 600m of the race behind Odeum and Aidensfield. She’ll appreciate 1600m but would need to jump better to avoid being buried from barrier 2. At $17 I’ll be having something on however because she comes out of the best form race. (9) Montia isn’t hopeless at big odds after racing through the inferior ground last start, and (11) Miss Guggenheim was an impressive maiden winner and looks to map nicely from barrier 8. Keen to back in the Sydney form with Thermosphere and having something on Silhouette.
Value: (7) Silhouette $17
Great edition of the Bart Cummings, with a guaranteed start in the Melbourne Cup on the line. I desperately wanted to be with (4) Steel Prince off his last start run when he ran on very nicely for 3rd behind Orderofthegarter, but he draws barrier 20 here (16 after scratchings) which is incredibly tough. The Freedman camp have said if they drew wide, they’ll be going forward to sit in the first 5 or 6 which is very interesting. Either way, he’s going to have to work early or get a long way back. If they do go forward there’s potentially a chance he sits outside the lead, but you’ll likely know your fate within 400m. Then you’ve got (2) Shared Ambition coming down from Sydney. He’s been a bit of a tease for a while now, but he’s been racing over unsuitable distances and finally steps out to a longer trip. His run last start was the best of the preparation, making a long sustained run when unable to reel in Taikomochi. He’s suited at the 2500m at Flemington and did bolt in two races in Melbourne this time last year, beating a few of these. The other main form race was taken out by (5) Lord Belvedere who got over the top of (15) Persan and (12) Schabau. Lord Belvedere started $13 there, which in hindsight was probably overs considering his record at the track and distance, which is now a perfect 3 from 3. He was 10 weeks between runs there and whilst it’s not a huge issue with the Maher/Eustace stable, he can only be improved heading into this. The favourite there was Schabau and the ride on him was a touch average. He settled midfield and over raced before getting tight for room and ducking back to the inside. I think he’s much better when settling right on speed and making it a truly run race and this race has been his target to get into the Melbourne Cup. He looks set to peak here coming out of a fast 2000m race, then getting to 2500m last start and now presenting here 3rd up. He should get into a lovely spot even from barrier 10- with a bit of intent I can easily map him one out one back and from there he’ll be hard to beat. They look the main chances, but I’m sticking to my guns and trusting the SP with Schabau out of the lead up and making Shared Ambition a small result as well.
Saver: (2) Shared Ambition $5.00
Race 7 (Market) - G1 Turnbull Stakes 2000m
Another Melbourne group one with precious little pace. I think (12) Finche rolls forward from out wide and potentially leads from (13) Django Freeman and (8) Aktau. Next I’ve got (11) Harlem and (6) Master Of Wine who look to map beautifully just off the pace, with (5) Dalasan tucked away the rail. Back in the field is where it gets a bit chaotic. Current favourite (9) Verry Elleegant is a horse that can roll forward, but I can’t see her much better than midfield. She should have enough early speed to get a nice spot with cover from barrier 9 though. Most of the stayers will be back, with (3) Surprise Baby potentially last on the rails from barrier one if a touch slow away. At best I’d say he’s 4 back the fence. (14) Superstorm doesn’t have much early speed and even with the light weight I think they’ll be a long way back and looking to follow (8) Kings Will Dream or Verry Elleegant into the race.
Fascinating race the Turnbull. The set weights and penalties nature of the race makes it very interesting as opposed to a standard WFA. I’ll start with the favourite (9) Verry Elleegant who comes down from Sydney third up. Her win first up over 1400m was nothing short of outstanding, before putting in a bit of a flat one second up in the George Main as the $2.20 favourite. She settled a bit further back than Jmac would’ve liked there and did cop a squeeze in the straight when put in a pocket by Colette. I’m not sure if she would’ve won with clear air but her work through the line was very good. She’s crying out for the 2000m and her run in the Ranvet over 2000m when third up last prep was elite behind Addeybb. The obvious queries are a firm surface and the Melbourne way of going. She has run well on a good track before- her 2nd to Te Akau Shark in the Chipping Norton would win this, but she is better on wet ground. Her form in Melbourne is a touch inconclusive for mine. She had plenty of 3yo runs here but they were basically all under Weir and she still did a lot wrong then. Her only other run was in last year’s Cox Plate where not a lot went right, but she was still beaten over 10L. She’s a better horse now and a deserved favourite. I think the clear danger is (6) Master Of Wine who Verry Elleegant beat comprehensively first up. Master Of Wine bounced back to some form last start in the Makybe Diva when running 4th to Fierce Impact, but I do rate Verry Elleegant a much better horse than him. We’ve seen Russian Camelot come out and bolt in the Underwood, but I think he’s more the anomaly of the form rather than the norm. Looking at the horses Master Of Wine finished alongside, So Si Bon has come from behind him to beat him home, and (5) Dalasan is there plugging away too. I’d like to see Master Of Wine again here but do think he’s still a live chance heading towards a Caulfield Cup where he’ll be well weighted. (3) Surprise Baby is the tricky one. His run in the Feehan first up was huge and the 2000m at Flemington is perfect, but I hate the map. Drawn barrier one, he’ll need a lot of luck and I don’t think the field will break up much as a result of the slow tempo. Willo would need to pull some serious magic to get him midfield and off the rails, and I think he’s priced as if that’s going to occur, or that he’s the best horse in Australia, which he hasn’t yet proved himself to be. I’m terrified of him because he’s very good, but I’ll be risking him from the map. The one that is set to peak here and gets a few things in his favour is (11) Harlem. This has been his grand final all prep and he’s been set to peak third up at his preferred track and distance, the site of his two group one Australia Cup wins. Compared to WFA he gets in well at the weights with 54.5kg, effectively a 3kg turnaround on what he would meet Verry Elleegant at, and I think he should be able to lob one out one back. He led them up by default in the Makybe Diva which probably isn’t his go, and he stuck on fairly well only beaten 2.6L. His run first up in the Memsie was good and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him bob up again at big odds. The other horse I want to mention is (14) Superstorm. This is very interesting placement from the Williams camp/Bob Peters, going from 1100m to 1400m and now straight up to 2000m. He had no luck in the Rupert Clarke and probably should’ve run 2nd to Behemoth, but this looks a bridge too far. He doesn’t have the platform to run 2000m, especially for the first time and whilst I think in time it’ll be his best trip, the Toorak would’ve been the logical progression in my opinion. He’s also going to get a long way back from a wide barrier so I can’t have him at the single figure quote, but he creates a lot of interest. On first look at this race I was keen to be with Master Of Wine, but I think Verry Elleegant has his measure, even on a good Melbourne surface. She’s crying out for 2000m and I think she maps fairly well even from barrier 9. At around $4.80 I think she’s a very reasonable price, so I’ll be backing her, and having something small on Harlem who will be peaking here and has surprised us before at the Flemington 2000m.
Value: (11) Harlem $34
(9) Verry Elleegant
Open race for the mares here but I do think (5) Madam Rouge is ready to win here and gets a good set up. She was very good first up, coming from last in the fastest last 200m of the meeting. Last start she ran 7th in the Rupert Clarke, beaten under 2L after drawing the outside barrier and coming from last. She was only 0.8L off (3) Pretty Brazen there, meets that mare 2.5kg better and draws barrier 8 which should see her settle closer. She has sat right on speed when she’s been able to draw a gate and I think she maps nicely getting into the running line. Pretty Brazen is obviously a very good chance as well and loves the 1400m. (6) Perfect Jewel beat them both in the Cockram first up over 1200m. She’s on the 8 day backup from The Valley, only going down very narrowly to a rejuvenated Mystic Journey. They absolutely gapped 3rd and whilst the drop to 1400m isn’t ideal, she’s a very classy mare. Pretty confident the winner comes from the three mentioned, because (2) Rubisaki was awful first up and whilst she’s very good, it’s not a run you want to see with no excuses from a mare first up. The Egan/Payne combo are also hopelessly out of form and she’ll get a long way back again so I’m pretty happy to pen her. (1) Savatiano is the other who put in a poor run last start, apparently feeling the firm track. She’s going to strike another firm surface here late in the day and her form generally tapers off when third up, which she is here. If Madam Rouge reproduces the splits she’s been running from a closer position in running, she’ll be winning.
Happy to play two here in the last. The favourite (14) Young Werther looks talented and was an impressive debut winner, running the 5th fastest last 200m of a strong Geelong meeting. The form out of the race has been solid with Wise Counsel and Trail Blazer winning recently, and Dubai Centre being backed off the map in the Derby Trial. To me that suggests that the market rates the Young Werther form line, and there’s a lot in his favour to suggest he’ll be strongly backed again. He maps nicely from barrier 5, has a strong trainer jockey combination, will eat up 1800m at Flemington, and clearly looks the horse to beat. The one I can make a case for at big odds is (6) Albarado. This horse raced through the winter and put his name in contention heading towards a Derby, running 2nd to Cherry Tortoni at his 2nd start. He comes here third up after a solid run over 1400m just 10 days ago, finishing 8th only beaten 1.75L by Poland. He was an $18 chance that day which was probably fair, but of the horses coming out of that race he looks the proper stayer of the field. Zahra replaces Dee which is a big jockey change, and he just needs to get in the three wide line and peel out in the straight to be a big chance. (9) The Brumby finished just ahead of Albarado there and is a big chance, I just thought there would be more improvement for Albarado here finally stepping to a trip with an elite jockey on.