Grand Final 2023 – Review / Sal’s Preview: Turnbull Stakes – Let the Spring Begin


Greetings All,


After a cracking season of close games and race to finals that went up to the final game of the season we got a finals series and Grand Final that befitted it.  The premiers typifying the season winning their three finals by a collective 12 points, while all the games were close the Pies controlled the moments that mattered in all of them and were deserved winners.  While there were many decisions questioned that went their way, there would have been just as many that didn’t but weren’t highlighted.  They won the moments that mattered and none more so than their finals two goals – the Nick Daicos handball to De Goey who put them back in front should go down in Grand Final folklore, then the sealer from Steele Sidebottom from outside 50 is deserving of similar accolades to Dom Sheed who buried their dream in 2018.


We now move on to the trade period and all the rumour and innuendo – which appears to be all over with respect to Clayton Oliver.  And more importantly the heart of the Spring Carnival with Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington tomorrow.  While the Turnbull highlights the day the support program is full of quality with important races leading into the classics over the next few weeks.  The weeks deluge also makes it interesting bringing the wet track performers to fore of selections.


The day opens with a trip down the straight in a tough betting race Anilla (R1, #7) is in form with a win down the straight, the Hayes boys are going well too.   The second see the babies race for the first time, we see the first of the Blue Point progeny.  A champion sprinter whose last two wins emulated Choisir at Royal Ascot winning the King’s Stand and Diamond Jubilee.  Godolphin has one of them a well-supported favourite Blue Illusion (R2, #1) and Maher-Eustice the other Centre Square (R2, #3), reckon better to watch and learn for this one.  The Derby contenders meet in the Super Impose Apulia (R3, #5) was well supported a couple of weeks ago before being scratched at the barrier have to give him another chance.  Do we go with Legacies (R4, #2) again?  She has been a costly conveyance but back to fillies only makes her a good chance.  I am Unstoppable (R5, #3) might be just that in the Danehill, meets his conqueror with a 1½ kg advantage for a ½ length beating.  Wary of the Waller/JMac combination on Kandinsky Abstract (R5, #7).  They combination with Princess Grace (R6, #3) in the Rose of Kingston, very short but back mares grade after competing in G1 WFA races makes it justified.  Maybe mix her up with 1, 4 & 10 in the exotics to try and get a return.


Race 7 – The Bart Cummings (G3, 2500m, HCP)


With a ticket into the Cup the Bart gets the full preview.  At this stage we have a full field in what should be an open affair.  However First Immortal (18) has got into the field and has come up short.  Has upside while plenty of the competition has convictions.  Missed the run in the Naturalism so smashed his competition over 2000m carrying 63kg.  Gets in here on the minimum, has won over the journey before and can win this despite the wide draw.  Also a good winner last two starts was Athabascan (7) gets JMac, is hard and fit.  3rd in the Melbourne Cup is good form for this and gets the conditions to suit so High Emocean (8) has claims.  Virtuous Circle (6) has always looked like a stayer in the making, 2nd in the AJC Derby on Heavy makes the surface a non-issue and yet to get a conviction.


Selections 18-7-8-6


Race 8 – Turnbull Stakes (G1, 2000m, SWP)


Romantic Warrior (1) appears unbeatable based on recent form, but at the current price is also unbackable.  Has never seen a soft track and never raced on a left-handed track, might over come all that and blow the field away but too many queries to warrant flip of the coin odds.  The Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip (2) looks a much better proposition at the price and getting his preferred track conditions.  Expect a big race from Soulcombe (11) on his way to the year’s cup was very good at WFA last start and not going without the other import West Wind Blows (5) who has very good form over this distance.  An important race to watch with so many hitting their straps for a cups campaign.


Selections – 2-1-11-5


Star Patrol (R9, #2) is a dominant favourite in the Bobbie Lewis and looks well suited here, J Kah goes on Triple Missile (R9, #11) for an each way or exotics play.  We close out with Mystery Shot (R10, #15) each way returning to Melbourne with conditions to suit.


Quaddie Time


Typically tough Flemington Quaddie – to keep the dividend up will skinny up the third leg.  If you really think Romantic Warrior is unbeatable then take him one out – or have a second play that way.


Leg 1 – 3, 6, 7, 8, 18


Leg 2 – 1, 2, 5, 7, 11


Leg 3 – 2, 11


Leg 4 – 4, 5, 9, 15


Represents 200 combinations, a $30 investment returns 15% of the dividend.


Let’s get Trippy


Cheers, Sal



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  1. Sal Ciardulli says

    Correction on the Quaddlie

    Leg 4 – #2 out, #5 in

    #4 is scratched

    Leg 1 – 3, 6, 7, 8, 18
    Leg 2 – 1, 2, 5, 7, 11
    Leg 3 – 2, 11
    Leg 4 – 5, 9, 15

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