IT’S a horse racing punters dream this weekend in Australia and the fun continues at Flemington on Sunday with the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes.
Punters have already enjoyed the Moir Stakes at Moonee Valley on Friday night and the group one triple-header at Randwick on Saturday, but one of the most important Melbourne spring carnival races is still to come where a field of quality middle-distance horses do battle.
Hartnell is the star attraction to the Turnbull Stakes, having won its last two starts in an incredible fashion, but the Victorians are well-represented with the likes of The United States and Jameka.
The nine-race card is packed with group racing and if your horse finishes second or third in the opening five races at Flemington, Sportsbet will give you $50 back in bonus bets.
Race 1 – Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m)
The Exceed And Excel crop is set for a big spring and another filly has been well-backed on debut. Madeenaty is a daughter of Exceed And Excel which opened at $5.50 in the betting and is currently at $3.20 after it has attracted plenty of support. Drawing the inside barrier down the Flemington straight isn’t always ideal, but keep an eye on the market movement.
Purrhaps is from the Ciaron Maher stable which doesn’t have any public trial form, but it has been specked at each way odds. The daughter of Purrealist opened at $7, drifted out to $8, but has since been backed into its original quote. Looks a chance in an even race.
Explicitly is at double figure odds of $15, but it has the breeding to suggest it might fire on debut. The Robbie Laing-trained son of Snitzel finished sixth in a trial, but it wasn’t asked to do much and Hugh Bowman is a key booking in the saddle. Not the worst here.
Race 1 tip: Madeenaty to win ($3.20) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 2 – Poseidon 3YO Stakes (1400m)
Styleman is a capable type for Ciaron Maher which comes into this off a 6.5-length maiden win at Pakenham. The three-year-old didn’t have great form leading up to its win, but it looks to have matured nicely throughout the winter and it obviously has talent. No standouts in this field and the $7 is a value price.
Zunbaqa is the current favourite at $4.20 having put four wins together earlier this preparation before finishing fourth behind Detective last start. The Hayes/Dabernig-trained filly won on this track two starts back and it looks a good chance of winning down in the weights at 54kg.
Inside Agent has had only one run to date, but has been supported in this. The Nigel Blackiston-trained colt finished sixth at Caulfield behind the talented Barthelona and it was seen doing its best work late in the race. It has the right breeding to feature and it only needs some luck from the tricky barrier of 11. $6.50 with bookmakers.
Race 2 tip: Zunbaqa to win ($4.20) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 3 – UCI 3YO Stakes (1800m)
Throssell is a quality three-year-old from Ciaron Maher which won its first two starts in fine style before running two solid placings. The Captain Sonador gelding was running on strongly behind Detective last start and the rise in distance to 1800m looks ideal. Drawn to feature and punters have backed it into $4.20.
Highlad is a potential Derby type from New Zealand which is undefeated from two starts, but it has been given the visitors draw of 17. Trained by Murray Baker, the three-year-old won the Wanganui Guineas last start after having little luck throughout the run and it will likely have to settle back from the wide alley here. Not an easy task first up in Australia, but it will build from the effort.
Rocketeer looks a staying type after running second behind Harlow Gold last start over the mile. The Mick Price-trained gelding has indicated that it will be best suited over the longer distances and it looks a solid each way bet in this at $7.
Race 3 tip: Throssell to win ($4.20) at WilliamHill.com.au
Race 4 – Gilgai Stakes (1200m)
Under The Louvre has been a bookmakers best friend this year and it is once again a short-priced favourite. There’s no doubting the sprinters talent as it demonstrated by winning the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap, but that came on an off track at Eagle Farm and it has twice started as favourite since and has yet to win again. It typically struggles down the Flemington straight and the $2.70 looks too short for our liking.
David Hayes labelled Faatinah as his best chance of the weekend. The four-year-old scored a nice win in the Bobbie Lewis Quality last start, taking its record to four wins from nine starts. It finished fifth behind Black Heart Bart in The Goodwood which is great form and it could be the value runner at $4.80.
The Quarterback was good enough to beat Chautauqua in the Newmarket Handicap down the Flemington straight and it typically goes well fresh up. The Robbie Griffiths-trained gelding is a four-time winner on this track and it looked good in two recent trials. A touch inconsistent, but worth a shot at $5.50.
Race 4 tip: Faatinah to win ($4.80) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 5 – The Bart Cummings (2500m)
Almandin is the current $2.60 favourite after its dominant victory at Caulfield last start. The Robert Hickmott-trained import scored its first Australian win just in time for the spring carnival and many punters believe it can go back-to-back. This field isn’t any harder than what it faced last start, but the price is short and there could be value elsewhere.
We told punters to keep backing Excess Knowledge this spring as it will pay off punters at some stage. That hasn’t happened yet, but after two runs this campaign it should be in fit order and the rise in distance is ideal. There’s no Jameka in this field and the $10 available is a great price.
Aloft has been well supported into $5 after opening at $6. The five-year-old finished off well last start at Moonee Valley and it won its only second up start. It only broke maiden grades five starts ago when beating Storm The Stars, but it won over 3200m at Ascot so this distance won’t worry it.
Race 5 tip: Excess Knowledge to win ($10) at Bet365.com.au
Race 6 – Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m)
Eleonora opened at $8 and has been supported into $6 following its last start win at Geelong. The three-year-old Kiwi filly finished second in the Champagne Stakes at Ellerslie and it looks to have a solid future ahead of it. Murray Baker knows how to train winners in Australia and Eleonora should give him another good chance.
Exocet has been impressive at its last two and the win at Caulfield has become a good form race. The filly by Smart Missile likes to get back in its races before producing a big sprint. Running over the longer distances is still a query, but it gets in with a nice weight and the $4.80 is a good quote.
Chipanda has been a touch off the boil of late, but it won nicely at Rosehill four starts back and it should be respected coming out of John O’Shea’s stables. The Sepoy filly has form on all track conditions which helps and it could run into the money at win odds of $8.50.
Race 6 tip: Eleonora to win ($8) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 7 – Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m)
Hartnell has been smashed into $1.90 for the win on the back of two quality wins in Sydney. The John O’Shea-trained gelding won by 7.8 lengths two starts back before repeating the dose by 5.8 lengths last start in the Hill Stakes. It has clearly turned a corner this preparation, but there are still doubts over its ability going left handed. It hasn’t won or placed in two starts at Flemington, but it drops in weight and should be considered. $1.90 is a risky price.
The United States is on the third line of betting at $7.50 and it looms as a major winning chance. The seven-year-old was unlucky in the Dato Tan Chin Nam and it showed its class last preparation when winning the Ranvet before running second in the Queen Elizabeth. This could be the spring carnival where The United States shines bright and the odds are appealing in this.
You can’t discount Jameka after it destroyed its opposition in the Naturalism last start. The Maher-trained mare capped off some consistent form with a 3.75-length victory and although it faces a much harder field for this, it has to be respected and bookmakers are keeping it safe at $5.
Race 7 tip: The United States ($7.50) at CrownBet.com.au
Race 8 – Blazer Stakes (1400m)
French Emotion went close at Caulfield last start and it has been specked to win this. The Chris Waller-trained mare was $7.50 and is now $5.50 on the back of strong support and just needs some early luck to feature in this. Drawing barrier 13 is a disadvantage, but it should go close if things go its way.
Telopea is a professional winner of six from 16 starts and it made good ground in the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes last start. The Darren Weir-trained mare is a four-time winner at this distance and another strong performance is likely. Current favourite at $4.40.
Vibrant Rouge is a solid long-shot chance at odds of $14. It was $19 earlier in the market, but that was quickly snapped up by each way punters. It was no match for Secret Agenda last start, but its form prior was strong and it could cause a boil over.
Race 8 tip: Telopea to win ($4.40) at Sportsbet.com.au
Race 9 – Paris Lane Handicap (1400m)
Ulmann will attract plenty of tote support following its last start placing behind subsequent group one winner Bon Aurum. The Weir-trained sprinter looked good winning back-to-back races earlier this campaign, including one on this track and it should feature in the finish at $3.80.
Federal has run at single-figure odds its last five without scoring a win. The John O’Shea-trained gelding wasn’t far away behind Sons Of John last start at Randwick and it has strong form lines behind the likes of Spill The Beans and Felines. Worth a shot at $5.50, but wouldn’t want it any shorter.
Akavoroun has been inconsistent this campaign, but it can throw in the odd good effort. The seven-year-old won well two back at Doomben and it could offer some value at $17 for each way punters if it gets everything its own way in front.
Race 9 tip: Ulmann to win ($3.80) at Bet365.com.au