PUNTERS who have supported the one-time pre-post favourite Green Moon in the Caulfield Cup in two weeks must hope the impressive import finishes out of the placings in today’s crucial Turnbull Stakes at Flemington.

Green Moon’s owner Lloyd Williams told radio RSN yesterday that if Green Moon was to run well and finish in the first three or four placings, he would reserve the horse for the Cox Plate. ”But if he races like a stayer, a two-mile stayer, then he’ll go to the Caulfield Cup,” the owner said.

Green Moon is again among the favourites today in a race in which Williams has enjoyed success. His Melbourne Cup winner, Efficient, who was retired this week after again succumbing to injury, won the Turnbull Stakes in 2009 and 12 months later Zipping took out the group 1.

But Williams is wary today’s race will prove hard to win. ”It’s a pretty competitive race. There are four or five chances that stick out for me,” he said.

Williams has long claimed the Cox Plate was his preferred option for Green Moon but has kept the door open to the Caulfield Cup, as he is training Green Moon to run the race of the horse’s life in a month’s time over 3200 metres.

”His mission is clearly late in the spring – we hope he’ll be there on the first Tuesday in November,” he said.

Williams’ spring hopes do not rely solely on Green Moon, as several of his other Melbourne Cup-bound stayers step out in Melbourne and Sydney today.

Also enjoying a slow build-up to the Melbourne Cup is another import, Mourayan, who contests the Craven Plate (2000 metres) at Randwick. Mourayan was the star worker of the trio that included imported stablemates Seville and Midas Touch at Caulfield during last Sunday’s meeting and Williams said he expected the horse to be the one to beat today.

”I’d be disappointed if Hughie Bowman doesn’t give me a good report tomorrow,” he told RSN. ”He looks better than at any time we’ve had him.”

Williams said Mourayan was considered a prime Melbourne Cup chance last spring, before sustaining a hoof injury in the Mackinnon Stakes, three days out from the big race. ”I thought he’d run really well in last year’s Melbourne Cup. I was going into the race with a reasonable amount of confidence as he’s a natural staying horse.”

Seville will join stablemate Green Moon in today’s Turnbull after he was elevated from first emergency following the scratching yesterday of Bart Cummings’ US import Sanagas.

Williams, who is searching for a fourth Melbourne Cup win this year, said Seville’s European form, where he was placed in an Irish Derby, suggested he will come into his own when he gets over more ground. ”He’s another natural stayer and he’s going OK,” Williams said.

Local stayer Tanby will contest today’s 2520-metre Bart Cummings and Williams said he was also ready to show his best. ”He needed the run at Moonee Valley [when an unplaced favourite] but he doesn’t need the run now.” he said. ”He’s had some solid work with Green Moon this week.”

While not entered for the spring’s major, Fawkner threatens to progress to a middle-distance group race if he can win the listed Tavern Stakes. Williams reported that the five-year-old had been kept fresh for today’s 1410-metre trip and was in the right order to challenge. ”He couldn’t be going any better,” he said.

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