After eight career starts, Turfane is still searching for his maiden win. Trainer Saab Hasan is hoping the three-year-old colt can finally nab his first victory in the Listed Abell Stakes (1200m) at Moonee Valley on Friday night.
Turfane is one of eight sprinters set to tackle the Moonee Valley circuit and while there were easier races to choose from, Hasan enjoys running the colt on the track. He was runner-up in the Aquanas Food Handicap (1200m) last June before finishing third to Rich Enuff in the Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m) in August.
The colt’s form has held up from the race considering Rich Enuff went on to win the Group 2 Danehill Stakes (1200m) and place in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m). He managed to beat home the likes of Merion and Petrology in the race, who later went on to dominate black-type races.
“The horse’s form at Moonee Valley is phenomenal because he just loves the Strath Ayr surface,” Hasan told Racing Victoria.
“His third placing in the McKenzie Stakes (1200m) behind Rich Enuff and Fast Cash was no fluke. His work leading up to that race was the best I’ve ever seen in 10 years of training.
“My exact words to the owner that day were ‘if he doesn’t run in the first three, I’ll train him for free all year’, that’s how confident I was.
“Petrology finished fifth and won the Sandown Guineas (1600m), Merion finished fourth and won his next start and Orujo finished sixth, so that form was probably the strongest three-year-old form around.”
Its big words from Hasan but it’s clear the trainer believes in Turfane considering he’s nominated the colt for the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) at Flemington next month.
Turfane is a $16 shot in the Abell Stakes betting market at Ladbrokes.com.au and will jump from barrier five with Damian Lane in the saddle.
Hasan has opted to take blinkers off the colt in a bid to help him relax and finish strongly.
“We’ll just let him settle where he’s comfortable and we won’t be hustling and bustling him early,” he said.
“Last start over 1400 he led and over-raced and did a bit wrong. I think if we ride him this way he can really explode over the last furlong and his form indicates to me that he’s not going to be far off them.
“The horse is also bred to run 2000m-plus and I just want to give the horse the opportunity this preparation to show me what he wants to do.”
The Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on February 21 is on the cards if Turfane can run well on Friday night.
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