Former Melbourne Cup winning trainer Mark Kavanagh is confident his comeback galloper December Draw can successfully defend their title in the 2012 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington this Saturday as they head towards another shot at the Caulfield Cup.
The six-year-old Medecis gelding jumped favourite in the $2.65 million Group 1 BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) last Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival after their wins in the Naturalism Stakes and the Turnbull.
December Draw however broke down during the run and finished dead last spending a subsequent 11 months on the sidelines overcoming their injuries.
They have gone from strength to strength since resuming in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) last month, including their eye-catching third to smart Kiwi stayer Ocean Park in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield two weeks back.
On Saturday they run in another elite level this time looking for the win in the $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Set to face a field of talented rivals including Dato’ Tan Chin Nam winner Happy Trails, last year’s Caulfield Cup champ Southern Speed and Underwood runner-up Voila Ici they certainly won’t have an easy time.
“It’s a stronger field than he raced against last year but he’s going a lot better than he was last year,” Kavanagh admitted.
However a win in the Turnbull, which December Draw will likely be favourite to achieve at the bookies, will see them cement their spot at the top of the 2012 Caulfield Cup odds for the upcoming October 20 feature, the horse already the $9 favourite.
“This time last year I had him really cranked up,” Kavanagh said.
“We needed to qualify to get into the big races.
“This year I can just idle along behind and have him ticking over the way I want.”
While the Caulfield Cup is the race everyone expects December Draw to run in, Kavanagh continues to deny it is the only option on the cards.
“We’ll just wait and see and each day we’ll see how he pulls up (from the Turnbull),” he said.
“There’s plenty of targets around.”
The 2012 Turnbull Stakes final field and barrier draw will be released later this morning so bookmark us here at Races.com.au to view the acceptances.
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