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Hartnell clear-cut favourite for Turnbull

Hartnell has wowed Sydney racegoers with two dominant weight-for-age wins recently and the gelding now gets the opportunity to do the same in Melbourne.

The John O’Shea-trained Hartnell makes his first Melbourne appearance of this season in Sunday’s Group One Turnbull Stakes – a race he finished fifth in last year.

He has won the Chelmsford Stakes and Hill Stakes in Sydney at his past two starts by a combined margin of almost 14 lengths.

Hartnell is the $2.10 favourite to give O’Shea his first Melbourne Group One win as Godolphin’s Australian trainer.

And the prospect of a track with sufficient give would only be in his favour.

“There’s due to be a bit of rain around in Melbourne later in the week which would suit him,” O’Shea said.

Victoria’s premier trainer Darren Weir is hoping for a rain-affected ground for import Raw Impulse to give him his best chance of making a successful step to Group One company in the Turnbull.

Raw Impulse is also entered for Saturday’s Craven Plate in Sydney but connections have indicated he will remain in Victoria for the Turnbull.

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Raw Impulse holds a Caulfield Cup nomination and the winner of the Turnbull earns a ballot exemption into that race.

The English import won his first three Australian starts stylishly in benchmark races in Melbourne in March, April and May before being beaten as favourite in the McKell Cup in Sydney.

After finishing fourth in his season return at Moonee Valley early in September, Raw Impulse returned to winning ways with a 4-3/4 length victory in a the Listed 1800m race in Adelaide last start on a soft track.

“Any rain is a plus for him,” Weir said.

“He loves wet ground, as you saw in Adelaide. It was wet there and although it was a lot easier race, he ran through the line really well.

“If the track is soft, I’m sure he’ll run really well.”

Flemington was rated in the good range on Thursday.

Jameka is on the second line of betting at $5.50 with The United States at $6.50.

Ranvet Stakes winner The United States races in the colours of owner Lloyd Williams who has had Efficient (2009), Zipping (2010) and Green Moon (2012) win the Turnbull in recent years.

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