Mon, Oct 8, 9:53am by Staff Writer
Turnbull Stakes Day at Flemington lived up to expectations of an action packed day of racing with the feature race and The Bart Cummings providing some heart-in-mouth moments.
As is now the norm, Winx was sent out a short odds-on favourite in the Group 1 Turnbull (2000m) and she looked in some sort of bother coming into the straight after settling at the rear of the field during the run. After a few hairy moments she got clear and in the end won by 1L, giving her 28 straight wins and 21 Group 1 victories in total.
Her stable mate Youngstar was impressive, running on for second finishing three-quarters of a length in front of the Darren Weir-trained Kings Will Dream, and with that they now top the markets for the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) in a fortnight. Kings Will Dream has been set for the Caulfield Cup since his Mornington Cup victory, and dropping back to handicap conditions he’ll be hard to beat, as will Youngstar who has raced well in open grade since winning the Group 1 QLD Oaks (2200m) in Brisbane during the winter.
Speaking of Cups, Avilius is now the outright favourite for the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) after a thrilling win in the Group 3 The Bart Cummings (2500m) – a ticket into the big one for the winner.
Drawing barrier one and carrying top weight of 58.5kg, he looked comfortable enough in the run after a solid tempo was set by Team Williams’, Harrison. Down the straight he and the Hayes/Dabernig-trained Jameeh cleared out, staging a duel amongst themselves over the final stages. Avilius laid in close to home with connections of the runner-up lodging a protest which was eventually dismissed giving James Cummings an emotional win in the race named in his grandfather’s honour. Godolphin will now plot a path for Avilius into the Cup while Jaameh, Yogi and Northwest Passage – second, third and fourth in the race – sit well down in the order of entry for the big one.
Up in Sydney, and Maid of Heaven became the second filly – after Yankee Rose – to win the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), and in doing so gave both trainer Mark Newnham and jockey Rachel King their first Group 1 victory.
Thinkin’ Big was sent out a solid favourite and battled on to finish third. He lost a shoe on the way to the barriers and had to be replated, and although he was beaten 2.5L he didn’t give it away on the line and shouldn’t be discarded in the G1 Derby (2400m). The Waterhouse/Bott-trained colt did lose pre-post favouritism for the Derby with Aramayo jumping to the top of early markets. The Godolphin colt looked the winner only to be run down late, as he followed up his good G3 Spring Stakes (1600m) win at Newcastle.
In the Group 2 Roman Consul (1200m), Sesar gave QLD trainer Steven O’Dea his first Sydney double after Doubt Defying won earlier in the day. Sesar was ultra-impressive when running down a gallant Sandbar to win by over 1L with Spin a further 4L away in third. Aylmerton set a cracking tempo and at one point, Sesar was up to 5L from the second last horse but he rattled home in the G1 JJ Atkins (1600m) in Brisbane behind The Autumn Sun and he showed similar acceleration on Saturday.
I am Serious was a well-supported favourite in the G3 Angst (1600m) and she got a well-deserved win after finishing behind Avilius at her past two starts. It was a blanket finish with second to sixth finishing just over half a length of each other.
Back in Melbourne, Darren Weir had a good day with his three-year-olds after Extra Brut took out the Listed UCI Stakes (1800m) to join Aramayo at the top of Derby betting while the master trainer trained the trifecta in the G2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) – Amphitrite continuing her good form notching up her third straight win and she’s firmed for both the G1 Thousand Guineas (1600m) and G1 VRC Oaks (2500m).
Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott opened the day with a win after Unite and Conquer was an all the way winner in the Listed Maribyrnong Trial for 2YO’s – and he now heads to the G3 Maribyrnong Plate on the final day of the Flemington carnival – while Ranier was a backed late to start favourite in race two. Hugh Bowman had trouble finding clear room down the straight although once he got clear, he rattled home narrowly missing the win – but grabbing the title of best thing beaten for the day.
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