Godolphin trainer John O’Shea will chase his maiden Turnbull Stakes win in 2016 nominating for the stable’s in-form six-year-old Hartnell to line-up at Flemington Racecourse in the Group 1 on Sunday.
The Authorized gelding heads south this weekend for a shot at the $500,000 Group 1 Yellowglen Turnbull Stakes (2000m) over a home run on Saturday in the $750,000 Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) at Randwick.
Hartnell has won back-to-back races this time in at Royal Randwick firstly in the Group 2 Chelmsford Stakes (1600m) in the mud second-up on September 3 and then again a fortnight later in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m).
The Hill Stakes win on a Good (4) track saw him fly home by nearly six lengths as the odds-on favourite ahead of his first run at Flemington since his 15th place effort when under six lengths off Prince Of Penzance in last November’s Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m).
O’Shea isn’t convinced the horse is a genuine stayer and is happy to keep him at 2000m, a distance he has won three of his seven starts over, for the Turnbull this AFL Grand Final long weekend.
Godolphin has a total of three Turnbull Stakes nominations this year with Hartnell joined by stablemates Arab Dawn and ATC Derby third placegetter Tally, the later coming off a Flemington second over 1700m behind Royal Rapture.
A four-year-old son of Street Cry, Tally is third-up for the season and is set to appreciate the extra metres having won the Group 2 Alister Clark Stakes (2040m) at Moonee Valley in March.
Sydney’s Chris Waller won the Turnbull Stakes with then four-year-old Preferment (2015) 12 months ago who came off the Hill Stakes win, a double Hartnell is out to emulate this Sunday.
Waller meanwhile is after back-to-back Turnbull Stakes wins with Preferment who, if successful, will be the first dual winner of the race since Vo Rogue (1987-88).
The Zabeel stallion has won two subsequent Group 1s since last year’s successful Turnbull Stakes result taking out the Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington on March 12 and the Group 1 The BMW (2400m) in Sydney a fortnight later over the autumn.
He comes via the same lead-up as Hartnell having run fourth in the Chelmsford and fifth in the Hill Stakes ahead of his third clash with the Godolphin galloper.
The other highest-rated Turnbull Stakes nominees along with Hartnell are the Lee & Anthony Freedman-trained Our Ivanhowe and The United States for owner Lloyd Williams.
Last year’s Caulfield Cup third placed German import Our Ivanhowe missed last weekend’s Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) due to a cut on his leg.
The seven-year-old races in a delayed second-up assignment on Sunday out to improve on the first-up fifth to Palentino in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) from September 10.
Co-trainer Lee Freedman has prepared a record six previous Turnbull Stakes winners, most recently going back-to-back with Makybe Diva (2005) and Sphenophyta (2006) a decade ago.
Makybe Diva was also the last seven-year-old winner of the race.
Our Ivanhowe is yet to win at Flemington from four starts, but his last run over the Turnbull Stakes distance produced the Group 1 Doomben Cup (2000m) win in Brisbane over the winter.
The United States is prepared by the race’s dual winning trainer Robert Hickmott who saluted with Zipping (2010) and that year’s subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Green Moon (2012).
Also a seven-year-old veteran, the Galileo stallion is after his first win since the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill in March.
He was last seen running a first-up sixth to Awesome Rock in the Group 2 Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) at Moonee Valley on September 3.
The Dato’ Tan Chin Nam Stakes winner Awesome Rock for Leon & Troy Corstens is also in the Turnbull Stakes mix this year.
Six classy mares have also been nominated to take on the boys including Ciaron Maher’s Naturalism Stakes winner last time out Jamkea and her stablemate Set Square coming off a fourth in the same lead-up.
See below for the full Turnbull Stakes 2016 nominations, the final field due out at 10:00am (AEST) on Wednesday along with updated odds at Ladbrokes.com.au.
2016 Turnbull Stakes Nominations
Flemington Racecourse – 02/10/2016
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Sex||Age||Trainer||Hcp. Rating|
|1||703x8148x0||ARAB DAWN (GB)||G||6||John O’Shea||99|
|2||1x0420x015||AWESOME ROCK||H||5||Leon & Troy Corstens||109|
|3||16x7733x86||DE LITTLE ENGINE||G||6||Danny O’Brien||93|
|4||0069x031x2||GALLANTE (IRE)||G||6||Robert Hickmott||107|
|5||208x0775x8||HAPPY TRAILS||G||9||Paul Beshara||109|
|6||4650x5x211||HARTNELL (GB)||G||6||John O’Shea||115|
|7||5x2018x732||HE OR SHE||G||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||107|
|9||10x3419x10||MISS ROSE DE LAGO||M||6||Danny O’Brien||105|
|10||230x5501x5||OUR IVANHOWE (GER)||H||7||Lee & Anthony Freedman||112|
|11||07x4110x45||PREFERMENT (NZ)||H||5||Chris Waller||115|
|12||32x1114x41||RAW IMPULSE (GB)||H||5||Darren Weir||95|
|13||3132114×27||REAL LOVE||M||6||Darren Weir||107|
|14||x063540x27||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||M||6||David & B Hayes & T Dabernig||107|
|15||122x323x50||SECOND BULLET||G||6||Danny O’Brien||93|
|16||x25305x934||SET SQUARE||M||5||Ciaron Maher||105|
|17||1F1x121x09||SOFIA ROSA (NZ)||M||4||Stephen Marsh||105|
|19||1x4214x808||TARZINO (NZ)||H||4||Mick Price||109|
|20||610x5212x6||THE UNITED STATES (IRE)||H||7||Robert Hickmott||111|