2011 Turnbull Stakes Field Takes Shape

Yesterday Racing Victoria released the nominations for the Turnbull Stakes 2011, the showcase race on a crack Flemington race programme this Sunday, and already the final field for the feature is beginning to take shape.

King's Rose

King's Rose will contest the 2011 Epsom Handicap on Saturday and bypass Sunday's Turnbull Stakes

The set-weights $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) this year attracted 19 nominees.

Although the Turnbull Stakes field limit is set at 18 starters, there will be no emergencies for Sunday’s showdown as already a number of horses look likely to drop out of contention at acceptance stage on Thursday.

Victorian Premiership winning trainer Peter Moody has confirmed he will not pay up for his smart Kiwi import King’s Rose, the Redoute’s Choice mare to run in Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Royal Randwick instead.

King’s Rose is undefeated in Australia having won both of her first-up starts for Moody this season when defeating quality fields in both the Group 2 Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on August 27 and Group 2 Stocks Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 10.

Moody is looking at the $3 million Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) at the Valley on October 22 for King’s Rose who currently sits as a $16 chance in the latest Cox Plate odds at Luxbet.

She is also one of the top fancies for the Epsom Handicap 2011 this Saturday, sitting as the $9 fourth-favourite in the pre-field markets yesterday.

The Epsom Handicap final field, as well as all of those for the Epsom Super Saturday races, will be released later today and published right here at Races.com.au.

Going back to the Turnbull Stakes, along with King’s Rose another horse unlikely to line-up in the field on Sunday is the John Thompson-trained Trusting.

Thompson has indicated that the $400,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick on Saturday is a more attractive goal for his Tale Of The Cat stallion this weekend.

Trusting will be seeking their third straight win for the season on Saturday in The Metropolitan Handicap having earlier defeated My Kingdom Of Fife in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (2000m) before their brilliant last-start effort to win the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill by an easy four lengths on September 17.

In both races Trusting carted a hefty 59kg to victory, while for The Metropolitan on Saturday they will drop back to 57kg.

Based on their excellent form and nice weight, Trusting lead The Metropolitan odds at Luxbet, paying $5 ahead of $5.50 second favourite Lamasery in yesterday’s ante-post markets.

Races.com.au yesterday published the official Turnbull Stakes nominations for 2011 and below you will see that list again, this time including the current ballot order and weights.

The drawcard contender in the Melbourne Spring Carnival feature will be Caulfield Cup favourite December Draw from the stables of Mark Kavanagh.

Other big name players in Turnbull Stakes contention this year include Group 1 winners Absolutely, Shamrocker, Playing God and Efficient.

Robert Hickmott’s veteran grey Efficient, winner of the 2007 Melbourne Cup, is out for a second Turnbull Stakes success having saluted in the feature two years ago.

Hickmott and owner Lloyd Williams’ are seeking back-to-back Turnbull Stakes victories after the win by the since-retired Zipping 12 months ago.

Their other Turnbull Stakes entries are top Melbourne Cup hopes Midas Touch and At First Sight, Mourayan and 2011 Cox Plate-bound Linton.

Also among December Draw’s main dangers for the Turnbull Stakes win are popular South Australian stayer Alcopop, the Bart Cummings-trained Precedence, in-form mare Southern Speed coming off a placing in the Underwood Stakes and last-start Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Rekindled Interest.

Betting on the Turnbull Stakes is set to open at our preferred online bookmaker Luxbet shortly, but they already have markets available on the Epsom Handicap Day features.

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Turnbull Stakes 2011 Ballot & Weights

# Horse Trainer Ballot Weight Hcp. Rating
1 EFFICIENT (NZ) Robert Hickmott 2 57.5kg 116
2 LINTON Robert Hickmott 7 56.5kg 109
3 PLAYING GOD Neville Parnham 3 56.5kg 110
4 PRECEDENCE (NZ) Bart Cummings 6 56.5kg 109
5 UNUSUAL SUSPECT (USA) Michael Kent 5 56.5kg 110
6 SHAMROCKER (NZ) Danny O’Brien 1 56kg 110
7 ALCOPOP Jake Stephens 11 55.5kg 109
8 GLASS HARMONIUM (IRE) Michael Moroney 12 55.5kg 110
9 REKINDLED INTEREST Jim Conlan 9 55.5kg 109
10 TRUSTING John P Thompson 10 55.5kg 112
11 EXTRA ZERO David Hayes 15 55kg 98
12 MIDAS TOUCH (GB) Robert Hickmott 14 55kg 112
13 ABSOLUTELY Michael Kent 4 54.5kg 105
14 AT FIRST SIGHT (IRE) Robert Hickmott 17 54.5kg 106
15 DECEMBER DRAW (IRE) Mark Kavanagh 19 54.5kg 105
16 MOURAYAN (IRE) Robert Hickmott 16 54.5kg 106
17 RAFFAELLO Patrick F Ryan 18 54.5kg 100
18 KING’S ROSE (NZ) Peter G Moody 8 53.5kg 109
19 SOUTHERN SPEED Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas 13 52.5kg 103