Incentivise will start favourite in the 2021 Melbourne Cup. Photo: Ultimate Racing Photos

2021 Turnbull Stakes Day Tips & Preview

The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes is shaping up to be one of the highlights of this year’s Spring Carnival as two of the top Caulfield Cup fancies, Incentivise and Verry Elleegant, go toe-to-toe for the first time.

All nine races on the card are of black type, including two wide-open editions of the Edward Manifold and Gilgai Stakes.

We’ve cast our eyes across the entire program and our best bets for Turnbull Stakes Day can be found below.

Race 1: Darley Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m), 12:10pm
No. 7 Robusto

Far from an easy race to dissect with all 11 on debut, but I’m happy to have something small on Chris Waller’s colt Robusto.

He couldn’t have been more impressive in a jump out here at Flemington last week where he got well back before shifting out wide to unleash with a huge turn of foot.

He put a big margin between himself and the rest of the field and a similar performance would make him tough to beat here.

Race 2: Kirkland Gold Super Impose Stakes (1800m), 12:40pm
No. 7 Hitotsu

Hitotsu dropped back in class to win his maiden three weeks ago at Donald where he put nearly two lengths between himself and his rivals over the mile.

Before that, the Maher and Eustace-trained colt capped off his maiden prep 3.5L sixth to Lightsaber in the Sires’ Produce here at Flemington, where he overcame a slow start to finish strongly down the straight.

The rise to the 1800m looks ideal for him now in his second run back and considering he struggled for running room in his latest win, the best might be yet to come.

Race 3: Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1610m), 1:15pm
No. 2 Elusive Express

Elusive Express won well on debut at Cranbourne during the winter and has now run a place in back-to-back starts since returning to work.

The Freedman-trained filly reeled off some impressive sectionals two weeks ago in the Thousand Guineas Prelude, winding up from the rear of the field to hit the line for third behind Bon’s A Pearla.

On a bigger track and out to the mile in the Edward Manifold Stakes, I think she’s the one to beat with some fitness on her side.

Race 4: Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), 1:50pm
No. 3 Kemalpasa

There’s a bit of deja vu about this race with Zoutori, Kementari and Kemalpasa all lining up again in the Gilgai Stakes.

Zoutori claimed the chocolates last year in a three-way go for the line, but I think Kemalpasa, who finished third, can turn the tables based on what we saw from him first-up.

To be fair, it was a much easier race than this, but the son of Magnus was super brave leading for most of the way before he was nabbed just out from the post at Morphettville.

He’ll only improve on that effort, and I like the fact he’s won twice previously second-up from a spell. His soft track form reads just as nicely and we know he loves racing at Flemington.

Race 5: Group 2 VRC Members Danehill Stakes (1100m), 2:25pm
No. 1 Ingratiating

Ingratiating went around as the short-priced favourite two weeks ago in the Poseidon Stakes where he was nabbed right on the line by the fast-finishing Ranch Hand.

The pair meet again on Saturday in the Danehill Stakes, but I’m with the impressive Godolphin colt to get some revenge providing Damien Oliver can remain a little more patient in the saddle.

The three-year-old gets the blinkers on again, and based on what we saw from him at Caulfield first-up in the Vain Stakes, I’d be shocked if he wasn’t in the finish.

Race 6: Group 2 Furphy Rose of Kingston Stakes (1410m), 3:05pm
No. 3 Mystic Journey

No one would blame you for feeling less than confident in Mystic Journey, but it’s tough to ignore the big run she produced out wide first-up in the Let’s Elope over the track and trip.

Adam Trinder’s mare has burned punters on more than one occasion over the last year at short odds, but she seems to have put some of that behind her now with two impressive trials prior to her performance when fresh.

Her soft track record and form at Flemington ticks all the boxes, and we know she eats up 1400m, so I’m happy to roll the dice for the Rose Of Kingston Stakes.

Race 7: Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), 3:45pm
No. 3 Incentivise

Like always, this is another outstanding edition of the Turnbull Stakes as punters face the impossible task of splitting Incentivise and Verry Elleegant ahead of their first stoush.

The latter has earned all the respect in the world as a nine-time Group 1 winner, but current Caulfield Cup favourite Incentivise clearly has a gear to go after leading all the way to win the Makybe Diva Stakes first-up.

He gained plenty of admirers that day after some questioned the legitimacy of his Queensland form, but there’s no doubt he’ll relish getting out over further now, especially on a potentially rain-soaked track.

each way
Race 8: The Lexus Bart Cummings (2520m), 4:25pm
No. 3 Knights Order

Easily one of the most wide-open races on the program, so I’m happy to have an each-way play on Knights Order, who capped off his winter prep with back-to-back wins in the Winter Cup at Rosehill and the Brisbane Cup at Eagle Farm.

The son of So You Think resumed two weeks ago in the Naturalism but faded late in the finish after overcoming the wide draw.

He tends to go well second-up from a spell though, while he’s another that absolutely loves racing with some sting out of the track.

Fitter, he should give the others something to catch in The Bart Cummings.

Race 9: McGregor Portables Paris Lane Stakes (1410m), 5:05pm
No. 9 Tavidance

Tavidance doesn’t win out of turn, but he’s got the runs on the board over 1400m to suggest he can run a race here fresh.

The six-year-old is a two-time winner over 1400m, and is coming off a lengthy break with a handy trial win to his name leading in.

His soft track form also ticks all the boxes and he should appreciate getting around with next to no weight on his back.