Thu, Oct 5, 5:13pm by Staff Writer
Melbourne racing heads to Flemington on Saturday with the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) the main event. The rail is out nine-metres the entire circuit and the track will be in the good range.
A small field of seven will line up in the Turnbull although it features the headline act of the day, Winx ($1.15), as she looks to make it 21 straight victories. After three tough runs in Sydney – each with their own drama throughout the race – Waller has sent the mare down south as she begins her Melbourne journey en route to a third straight Cox Plate.
Humidor ($4.80) will carry top weight – and 2kg more than Winx – and he’s going for back-to-back wins following an emphatic last start victory over Hartnell in the Group 1 Makybe Diva (1600m) at this track. Some are touting the Turnbull as a match race between the two and only time will tell how well Humidor can match it against the mare.
Ventura Storm ($26) was blocked for clear running when sixth in the Makybe Diva and he continues on a Melbourne Cup path while Team Williams saddle up Assign ($101) and Sir Isaac Newton ($51).
Another relatively small field of nine have accepted in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) with Spieth ($2.60) opening favourite – and he’s been supported in early betting. Connections missed the call up for an Everest slot and he’s second-up on Saturday after a second to Redzel when fresh. He’s raced four times at Flemington and while he has one win next to his name, he’s been beaten in a photo-finish twice at G1 level down the famous straight.
Top weight, The Quarterback ($7) has a G1 Newmarket (1200m) win down the straight and is first-up – with two wins and three placings from seven fresh attempts, while Silent Sedition ($4) is also proven fresh and she did win a G1 William Reid (1200m) at Moonee Valley last campaign which came in between a G1 second in the Coolmore (1500m) and fourth in the G1 Queen of the Turf (1600m).
Bons Away ($8) is eyeing five straight victories and has five wins and two placings from ten career starts while Land of Plenty ($11) is an acceptor after a last start eighth in the Group 1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) last weekend and a third to Redkirk Warrior in the G2 Bobbie Lewis (1200m) before that.
Almandin ($2.10) is the short-price favourite in the G3 The Bart Cummings (2500m), a race he won last year before going on to win the big one on the first Tuesday in November. He comes into this off an effortless 3L win at this track and distance last start, and that shot him to clear favourite in Melbourne Cup early markets. He’s joined by stable mate Crocodile Rock ($9) who might be starting to wear thin with some punters after three placings when solid in the market – or favourite – at his past three runs.
Harlem ($3.90) was ultra-impressive when taking out the G3 Naturalism (2000m) at his most recent run while Amelie’s Star ($7.50) is due for a bit of luck after some tough and luckless efforts at her last couple of runs.
Suggested Bet: Going with Spieth in the Gilgai Stakes ($2.60, Race 4, number 4). He’s been unlucky in a couple of Group 1 Flemington runs and with a small field here, he should get clear running and show his true potential. The Quarterback and Silent Sedition are worthy opponents but hoping Spieth can break his recent run of outs.
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