The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
The 2021 Turnbull Stakes is shaping up as a thriller at Flemington on Saturday with Chris Waller’s nine-time Group 1 winning mare Verry Elleegant heading south to take on the Spring Cups’ favourite Incentivise.
Waller opted to withdraw his champion Zed mare from Sydney’s Group 2 $1 million Hill Stakes (1600m) at Randwick this weekend in favour of a Melbourne run at HQ in the Group 1 $1 million Turnbull Stakes (2000m) for the same prize money over the same distance.
She was typically gutsy last time out winning the Group 1 George Main Stakes (1600m) and now gets her chance to take her Group 1 wins into double-figures in the Turnbull.
Jockey Damian Lane comes aboard for the prized ride replacing James McDonald in the saddle of the $9.27 million earner as Verry Elleegant defends her Turnbull Stakes trophy.
She backed up from a narrow win in the race last year to take out the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) before a seventh to Twilight Payment over the two miles in the iconic Melbourne Cup.
Fellow Waller superstar Winx (2017, 2018) was the last back-to-back Turnbull Stakes winner and Verry Elleegant is paying $2.35 as the firming favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au to emulate her former stablemate.
The danger of course is the now Peter Moody-trained Queensland expat Incentivise at current Turnbull Stakes odds of $2.80.
Brett Prebble retains the ride on the outstanding son of Shamus Award, a 12-length winner in Brisbane’s Group 3 Tattersall’s Cup (2400m) over the winter.
The five-year-old franked that form first-up with a brilliant win fresh in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) and will be better over further second-up in the Turnbull this weekend.
The other contenders under $10 in the Turnbull Stakes betting markets are the Godolphin-raced Colette ($8) and reigning Cox Plate champion Sir Dragonet ($8.50) for Ciaron Maher & David Eustace.
James Cummings’ Hallowed Crown mare Colette is a wet track specialist, the mudlark boasting a flawless three-from-three record on Heavy tracks including in last year’s $7.5 million Golden Eagle.
With plenty of rain set to fall on Flemington over the next 24 to 48 hours, the likelihood of a wet track for Turnbull Stakes Day is high and plays firmly in favour of Colette.
She ran a second-up fifth in the Makybe Diva on a Good (4) and is looking for her first victory since a two-length win in February’s Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) where Verry Elleegant ran third.
Former Irish galloper Sir Dragonet meanwhile won the Group 1 Cox Plate first-up down under last October and secured a second elite level in Australia when running home by 2.3 lengths in the Group 1 Tancred Stakes over the mile and a half in Sydney over the autumn.
He looked excellent first-up in the Makybe Diva Stakes running a close third at big odds and gets the chance to build on that getting out over 2000m second-up on Saturday.
2021 Turnbull Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||6x794159x3||SIR DRAGONET (IRE)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Ben Allen||10||59kg||116|
|2||51132113×9||EXPLOSIVE JACK (NZ)||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||John Allen||3||58kg||108|
|3||68111111×1||INCENTIVISE||Peter G Moody||Brett Prebble||6||57.5kg||112|
|4||17x3112x21||VERRY ELLEEGANT (NZ)||Chris Waller||Damian Lane||5||57kg||119|
|5||0329431×00||JOHNNY GET ANGRY (NZ)||Denis Pagan||Lachlan King (a)||2||56.5kg||105|
|6||3x73590x00||CHAPADA||Michael Moroney||Daniel Stackhouse||8||56.5kg||102|
|7||215x1244x3||PERSAN||Ciaron Maher & David Eustace||Luke Currie||1||55.5kg||104|
|8||1x12454x65||COLETTE||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||7||54.5kg||111|
|9||x41x211x08||MOUNT POPA (IRE)||Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes||Fred Kersley||9||54.5kg||103|
|10||23x75232x5||YOUNG WERTHER (NZ)||Danny O’Brien||Daniel Moor||4||53.5kg||100|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
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