Tue, Oct 3, 12:00pm by Staff Writer
The Turnbull Stakes is always an important day on the racing calendar, leading into the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.
This 2000m Group 1 classic is held annually at Flemington Racecourse at the start of October, during the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival.
The Turnbull Stakes holds elite level status and is open to horses aged four years and above, with a $500,000 prize up for grabs.
The race has been won by many turf greats including Makybe Diva in 2005, Zipping in 2010 and Great Moon in 2012.
Last year’s favourite, Hartnell was only the third favourite to win the Turnbull Stakes in the last decade, with favourites having a wretched run at the event.
This year, the Turnbull Stakes is expected to only attract 11 runners, as opposed to the full 16 barriers traditionally expected for this race.
The overwhelming favourite in 2017 is Winx at odds of $1.20 with Sportsbet.
Winx is set for her first race at Flemington, in preparation for a third straight Cox Plate victory later this month.
Humidor is seen as Winx’s nearest rival in this race at $5.50.
The 5-year-old last raced at Flemington in the 1600m Makybe Diva Stakes where he beat Hartnell and Black Heart Bart from barrier 10.
Trainer Darren Weir wasn’t deterred by Winx’s last-minute change of programming which sees her running at Flemington, instead preferring to use the Turnbull Stakes as a stepping stone for the $3 million Caulfield Cup.
With the barrier draw expected on Wednesday, no horse has won the Turnbull Stakes from a double-digit barrier since Maybe Diva in 2005 from barrier 16.
Since Makybe Diva’s win, two other mares have taken out the group 1, with Devil Moon in 2007 and Lucia Valentina in 2014 victorious.
All other runners in this shortened field are double digits, including Harlem ($17), Ventura Storm ($26) and Abbey Marie ($31).
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