The bookmakers are having a hard time separating the chances of Alpine Eagle and Royal Descent for Sunday’s 2015 Turnbull Stakes with the in-form duo currently installed as the co-favourites for the Flemington feature.
A capacity field is set to line-up in Flemington Race 7 at 4:10pm (AEST) on Sunday afternoon in the $500,000 Group 1 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m).
Two $6 fancies are current co-favourites in the Turnbull Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on ALL RACES on the card, with Tony McEvoy’s four-year-old Adelaide visitor Alpine Eagle and Chris Waller’s star six-year-old mare Royal Descent.
Both hopefuls are drawn wide in barriers 14 and 13 respectively, the last Turnbull Stakes winner to jump from a double digit gate being the mighty Makybe Diva (16 of 16 in 2005) a decade ago.
The bookies see a wide draw as no hindrance in the mile classic this Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival though.
Mark Zahra has the ride on High Chaparral stallion Alpine Eagle, a winner of four of his eight starts to date, the latest of which was the Group 2 Autumn Classic (1800m) at Caulfield in late February.
This time in he returned with a second to Riziz in the Listed Penny Edition Stakes (1400m) back home before a sixth, only beaten three quarters of a length by Fawkner in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) over the track and distance he returns to back in Group 1 company this long weekend.
Waller’s Redoute’s Choice mare Royal Descent has had three runs this time in for three top three efforts including the last start second to 2015 Cox Plate-bound stablemate Kermadec when beaten just a half-length at Randwick in the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) over the mile.
Sydney’s best horseman is heading towards the $3 million Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) with the $2.6 million earner, Royal Descent running in Melbourne on Sunday for the first time since her failed 12th to Irish raider Adelaide in the Cox Plate 12 months ago.
There are three other single figure hopes in an open Turnbull Stakes market for the 16-starter field this season including Hartnell ($7) who is also out wide in barrier 15 for Sydney-based jockey James McDonald.
The John O’Shea-trained Authorized gelding is best known for his Group 1 The BMW (2400m) win in Sydney back in late March after which he ran a brave fourth to Grand Marshall in the Group 1 Sydney Cup (3200m) over the two miles.
He comes off a first-up fourth behind Complacent in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) at Randwick from early September and has won a subsequent 1200m trial at the same track heading into his maiden Melbourne run in the Turnbull.
Rounding out the single figure Turnbull Stakes hopes this season are early market mover Amralah ($7.50) owned by Lloyd Williams and Rising Romance ($8.50) who is now prepared by David Hayes & Tom Dabernig since coming over from Donna Logan’s New Zealand stables.
Amralah is an imported Teofilo stallion who has had three runs down under for two unplaced efforts and a last start black-type win over 1800m in Adelaide from two weeks ago carrying 58.5kg, the six-year-old down to 55kg on the weekend.
Last year’s ATC Oaks winner as a three-year-old, Ekraar mare Rising Romance is now a five-year-old and comes off a brave second when defeated just a neck in the Makybe Diva, which hasn’t produced a Turnbull Stakes winner in over 30 years.
Also in the mix for an upset Turnbull Stakes result at more generous odds are the likes of Volkstok’n’barrell ($14) and the Waller-trained former Victoria Derby winner Preferment ($16).
From the former stable of Rising Romance, the New Zealand-trained Tavistock four-year-old Volkstok’n’barrell is a Group 1 winner in Australia having won the Rosehill Guineas during the autumn before his third to fellow Kiwi raider Mongolian Khan in the Group 1 ATC Derby (2400m).
His first two runs this campaign in Melbourne were disappointing but his fifth to Mourinho in the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) last Saturday was an improved effort he’ll be out to run better than again on the short turnaround into the Tunbull.
Preferment has Hugh Bowman aboard on Sunday retaining the ride following his winning effort aboard the classy Zabeel four-year-old in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick over Magic Hurricane on September 19.
The stallion is on way to a run in the $6.2 million Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) on the first Tuesday of November at Flemington and gets his first look at the same track on Sunday since winning the Victoria Derby last spring.
Check out the full Turnbull Stakes 2015 odds below before taking advantage of the Best Tote or SP + 20% markets on all the Melbourne races this Sunday through Ladbrokes.com.au!