December Draw.Five reasons why December Draw can win the Turnbull Stakes.
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1. HE WON IT LAST YEAR December Draw was the talk of the Melbourne spring carnival a year ago. He had burst onto the Australian racing scene with two brilliant late-autumn wins at Flemington and returned in the spring to win the Naturalism Stakes, defeating a strong field of Caulfield and Melbourne cups hopefuls. He then returned to Flemington for his first group 1 test and showed remarkable toughness under pressure to win the Turnbull and confirm his place as Caulfield Cup favourite. An injury would destroy his chances in that race, but after a long spell he has returned in great order and trainer Mark Kavanagh (pictured) has been able to plot a path to the spring majors in the knowledge that December Draw is of group1 standard.

2. HE’S BIGGER AND STRONGER When December Draw returned to the races at Flemington in the Makybe Diva Stakes after nearly a year on the sidelines, it was clear to all that he had been in a good paddock. Kavanagh declared the horse to be around 40–60kilograms heavier than his first Australian season and said a key for this spring carnival was that the majority of that weight was muscle. December Draw was quite a lean import last year but the extra weight this time around will help him to really hold his own at the top level, and potentially to give him some extra acceleration and strength in a fight.

3. HE LOVES FLEMINGTON Perhaps the most compelling factor for today’s race is December Draw’s record at this venue, where he has won four of his five starts. His only failure was in the Makybe Diva Stakes when he simply ran out of steam at his first run back from his long spell. Not surprising considering he resembled an overweight full-forward that had missed pre-season.

4. KAVANAGH DESERVES SOMETHING TO SMILE ABOUT When news filtered through that Black Caviar would not contest this year’s spring carnival, unbeaten mare Atlantic Jewel was supposed to take her mantle as the darling of the spring. She was the hot favourite for the Cox Plate after destroying her rivals as a three-year-old last season and backing up with a weight-for-age win in Sydney during the autumn. It was a cruel twist of fate that Kavanagh, who has been dealt enough unlucky hands on feature race days, would lose the mare to injury. With Atlantic Jewel on the sidelines, perhaps December Draw can notch a deserved win

5. MICHAEL RODD When he is riding at his best, there are few jockeys in the country that are as talented as Michael Rodd. The hoop is off to a good start this season with five metropolitan wins and 15 around the state, but it is during the spring that he truly shines. Expect to see Rodd launch another successful spring campaign.

THE Turnbull Stakes is always a crucial race as far as the spring majors are concerned as it is the fork in the road for horses heading either to the Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate. Run under set weights and penalties conditions, the Turnbull often produces a long-odds winner, as stayers that have been outclassed at weight-for-age suddenly have the chance to get away from their more brilliant rivals.

This year’s race is certainly no different as far as expectation or importance is concerned, with three key players engaged today before heading on to bigger targets.

Green Moon is the key runner in the race. High up in the Caulfield Cup, Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup, today’s run will determine which path he takes towards the great race in November. Should he show that he has the zip in his legs to tackle Pierro in the Cox Plate he will head to Moonee Valley, but a more dour performance worthy of a handicap stayer will see him steer towards the Caulfield Cup. In any case, the horse is primed to win today after two excellent runs from a spell and he will be hard to beat.

December Draw came to this race 12 months ago as the Caulfield Cup favourite and he returns this year after an injury.

Both his runs this preparation have been full of merit and trainer Mark Kavanagh is slowly trimming the fat from his frame in readiness for Caulfield. He will be a hard horse to pass with an ideal run from a dream gate.

Defending Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed is Australia’s best staying mare and her form has been incredibly consistent as she nears a defence of her cup title. She got too far back at Caulfield in the Underwood Stakes but once clear she made excellent headway, suggesting that Flemington will really suit her pattern of racing. This will be a terrific contest and a worthy lead-up to the big three spring features.

THE SATURDAY AGE RACING EXPERTS’ QUADDIE

MANIFOLD STAKES LEG 1

The Edward Manifold is a really tricky contest this year with no standout filly engaged. Commanding Jewel is the obvious one to include, but there might be a ”smokey” hidden away that could spoil the party. Go wide here just in case there is a blow-out.

NUMBERS 1, 5, 6, 10, 12, 16

TURNBULL STAKES LEG 2

The Turnbull looks pretty thin this year with a few genuine winning chances. We liked Green Moon and December Draw as stand outs with Southern Speed and Voila Ici as the other main contenders.

NUMBERS 3, 8, 9, 11

GILGAI STAKES LEG 3

This looks to be a really strong sprint race and many of these runners will be hoping to land a group 1 over the spring, especially without Black Caviar. Bel Sprinter and Mid Summer Music are the class runners but watch out for Excellantes down from Brisbane.

NUMBERS 4, 6, 9

TAVERN STAKES LEG 4

Fawkner was absolutely awesome first-up at this track and if he repeats that run he will be very hard to beat. We’ve taken a few with him for insurance, just in case he has an off day from barrier 15.

NUMBERS 3, 5, 7, 11

CAULFIELD GUINEAS

Next Saturday

$1.40 Pierro

$6 Epaulette

$10 Proisir (doubtful)

$17 Kabayan (doubtful)

$21 Let’s Go Lenni,  Ashokan,   All Too Hard (doubtful),   Awesome Bro

$31 Philippi

$35 Shamexpress

$41 Jimando

$51 Tatra,  Adjuster,   About Square

$61 others

 

THOUSAND GUINEAS

Caulfield, October 17

$5.50 Molto Bene

$6 Commanding Jewel,  Love For Ransom

$7 Norzita

$9 Dazzler,  Dear Demi

$11 Lady Of Harrods

$13 Jade Marauder,   Proper Madam,  Villa Splendido,   Stella Lante,   Balaklava Lady,   Showmya Miss,  Spitfire Lady

$26+ others

 

CAULFIELD CUP

October 20

$9 December Draw

$12 Southern Speed

$16 Green Moon

$18 Glencadam Gold, Lamasery

$21 My Quest For Peace, Jakkalberry, Dunaden, Voila Ici

$26 Mourayan, Mount Athos, Folding Gear, Lights Of Heaven, Linton, Manighar, Moudre, Shoot Out, Tanby, Americain, Zabeelionaire

$34 others

 

COX PLATE

Moonee Valley, October 27

$3.20 Pierro

$7 More Joyous

$8 Ocean Park

$9 Manighar

$13 Green Moon,   Proisir

$15 Rekindled Interest

$21 Shoot Out,   Happy Trails,   Sincero

$26 Moment Of Chane, Secret Admirer

$31 Linton, December Draw, Rangirangdoo

$41 Afsare, Southern Speed, Ethiopia, Epaulette, Glass Harmonium

$51 others

MELBOURNE CUP

Flemington, November 6

$11 Mount Athos

$15 Green Moon

$17 Red Cadeaux

$21 Dunaden, Brigantin, Americain, Tac De Boistron, Galileo’s Choice

$26+ others

ODDS: TAB Sportsbet

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