Horseracing: Black type everyhwere on Turnbull Stakes day

by Mark “Makybe” Freeman

Wow, punters (he barked, with eyes lolling and tongue wagging), Turnbull/Epsom Day is as big as ever this year. For footy fans joining us, this weekend is similar to the first week of the finals – the early home-and-away-like skirmishes are done with and we have top level racing in multiple states, with the winners mostly on their way to bigger prizes later in the spring.

There’s even a bunch of rookie-rising star types going around in three states – with the two-year-olds making their first appearance on a racetrack in Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide.

But it’s not just here in Australia – over the ditch there’s NZ’s best race, the Kelt Capital (go Jungle Rocket), while on Sunday our best sprinter, Scenic Blast, takes on Japan’s best in the Sprinters Stakes on their own dungheap.

It’s wall-to-wall black-type races (listed or group races) at Flemington and Randwick. Sydney’s big bang of spring, spruiked as yet another Super Saturday, features four group 1 races headed by the tradition-rich but now prizemoney-poor Epsom and Metropolitan handicaps. There’s also the Flight Stakes for the 3YO fillies and the Spring Champion Stakes for the colts. But most of Sydney’s good horses are either on their way or already down here in Melbourne, and in particular the Spring Champion suffers big-time from Sydney’s best colts being aimed at next weekend’s Caulfield Guineas.

At Headquarters the card is headlined by the group 1 Turnbull Stakes, which is stiff with cups and Cox Plate fancies. It’s an extremely tough race, and unless big Mal (No.3 Maldivian) rolls along out in front, there doesn’t appear to be any pace in the race, which could lead to a debacle similar to the 2003 edition when Caulfield Cup favourite (and eventual winner) Mummify finished near last because he couldn’t get a crack at them in a jog and sprint affair.

Rivalling it in quality is the Gilgai Stakes – a ball-tearer of a sprint down Flemington’s straight six featuring some heavyweight champs (All Silent, Swick, Light Fantastic, Ortensia) taking on the new kids (First Command, Eagle Falls). Thursday night, the books have All Silent at $15. They have him settling too far back and flying home for an unlucky 5th. I have him tucking in just worse than midfield and exploding past them in the final 50m. It’s important to note here that they drive Mercs; I drive a Camry.

But I’ll admit it, I love him, so now you do too Daff:

Melb R8 No.1 All Silent $25 e/w ($15 win Betfair, $4.20 place Betfair, and you’ll get better if you trade).

And I also love another snip of Sydney silk, Hot Danish. She’s joining sister sin-city-er Neroli, who put in a slasher first up at Caulfield. These mares fought out the Queen of the Turf in Autumn, with Neroli winning the day on a heavy track. They meet again at level weights, and both should be in the finish.

Melb R5 Trifecta 2,4/2,4/field $15 (54%)

Melb R5 Trifecta 2,4/field/2,4 $15 (54%)

And because I couldn’t stand her winning and Daff not being on:

Melb R5 Hot Danish $20 win (top fluc)

Good punting.

Mark Makybe Freeman

(Current bank: $20 in the black)


  1. Great to see your enthusiasm Mark. Great black-type everywhere, but as I’m starting to sift through them, pretty thin for talent. The Kelt is an awful race and the Epsom is below standard. Onemorenomore should be odds-on in the Spring Champion Stakes and the Metrop, Speed Gifted aside, is not Group 1. Nevertheless, form lines of note will emerge. Flemington’s card is typically tough,but you are right at how significant the races will be to developments in weeks to come. The key Qs at Flemington are usually around pace in the 1400m races, without which it is a leader’s citcle, and the traditional lottery surrounding inside/outside for the 1200m dash. Initially keen on Red Ruler in the Turnbull.

  2. Peter Flynn says

    The Sydney forecast is for rain periods.
    Interesting to see how the Randwick track fares.

    The set weights and penalties suits Red Ruler.

    I remember having a really good 2008 Derby Day on the back of Hot Danish and All Silent.

    I generally back the good Sydney horses at Headquarters.

  3. crio

    Never one to shy from tipping something or nominating the “best song ever”, I reckon I,ve found one at Flemington. Miss Darcy, unsuited in the wet at the Valley, she is a young mare seemingly on the way up prior to a break with form in good races. She is in an event abound with “usual suspects” As for the Edward Manifold, should that read Group II or Class II. Used to be a very good race.

    Just having a few Friday arvo suds. Positive I will be back with some more good things as the confidence falsely kicks in.

  4. Elvis – don’t think its going to be a dry track tomorrow either but Miss Darcey has form on slow tracks and got knocked down last start so probably had a chance right up until when you tipped her! If dry(ish), reckon Cats Fun is not hopeless in that.

    Flemington R5 – 20 starters but only 2 chances – If the track is dry, Hot Danish wins. If wet, Neroli.

    R6 – Agree with Elvis but Mont Fleuri looks the goods

    R7 – Been waiting for Predatory Pricer to get to Flemington. Agree Red Ruler is the weights tip but would like to see it win a race before I could get enthused in this. Maldivian the main danger. Enormous run last start and may get an easy run up front (again!).

    R8 – I’ve been on the Light Fantastic band-waggon before but like him first up in the sprint. May have too much class for these. OK wet or dry.

    R9 – a raffle for the get out. Maybe Dr Doutes. Goes well 2nd up and 1st up run can be ignored as hunted up early when saddle shifted. Maxisun the other one I like in this – if it gets a run (otherwise obviously very little hope!).

  5. Elvis,
    Scarily I’m with you re Miss Darcey and, more notably, A.J. Cummings’ horses in general.
    Royal Discretion is my get out when it all goes pear-shaped.

  6. Budge

    Thanks for the vote of confidence re Miss Darcy. Sad part is I agree. Reckon you are right about the Grimley owned Mont Fleuri in the class II (He’s got Loveyoulikearock in the Spring Champ Stks also)

    Think you are also on the $$$ with Light Fantastic. Really like class horses first up.

    I notice the very short fav for the Arc is Sea The Stars, a Derby winning half to Derby winner Galileo. Has one mare ever thrown 2 Derby winners? Apparently Piggott has compared the fav with Nijinsky!!!!!!

  7. Crio

    Thanks for your support regarding Miss Darcy. No need to be scared. However, if you can scare up a dry dance down there it would be greatly appreciated.

  8. Craig Down says


    I’ve been trying, to add a little extra interest to my spring, to put together a capable Sky Racing “Star Stable”. So far, my initial draft of ten is:

    Tribunal (UCI Stakes), Sigma (Doncaster Stakes), Light Vision (the Bart), Hot Danish (the Rose of Kingston), Mont Fleuri (the Ed Manifold), Red Ruler (Turnbull), Rothesay (Roman Consul), More Joyous (Arrowfield), Speed Gifted (Metropolitan) and last, but not least (well, kinda least as I was left with $25,000 to spend), THE SID.

    I hope the stable gets out to a fast start this weekend as bugger all of them will be racing next weekend!


    PS: A great day’s racing tomorrow. So far, I’ve had an interest in Rangirangdoo in the Epsom (I agree its the weakest in years) and Big Mal in the Turnbull (although I concede that Red Ruler has the best advantage at the weights). Good luck punters.

  9. Didn’t Windmill Girl throw 2 Derby winners – Blakeney won one and Relko (something like that) – I’ll Google and get back to you

  10. Race 5 update…anyone else impressed by Pravana’s form if she gets a run?

  11. Morston (1973) was the other Epsom Derby winner from Windmill Girl

  12. Crio,
    Agree Estee some hope if gets a run. Pravanna only gets 2.5 kgs from Hot Danish. Hot Danish only loses if track is wet -which may well be the case.

  13. Why would we consider a wet track in Melbourne? Little rain this week, big winds and a fantastic “drying course”.

  14. Budge

    Thats why you were the master and me forever the apprentice. Well done.

  15. Crio

    A “Sniff at Hanks” Didn’t Daryl Hannah do that in Splash?

  16. Mark Freeman says

    Budge I’ve loaded up on fixed odds and you’ve given me a scare with talk of wet track. Had a squizz – does look unlikely as they’re only talking ‘isolated light showers’ in the morn.

    Crio it looks like Pravanna gets the run now with Velocitea out. Gotta be some chance with Coolmore form and Ollie up.

  17. They’re all over Hot Danish pre-post. See her being 5/4 at best.I’m going to risk her.

  18. Freezer

    Magnificent on All Silent. Did you keep the Cup winner safe and snag the quaddie?

  19. Mark Freeman says

    Shoulda done Harmsy but not so.

    But as it happened I didn’t have a crack at quaddie today on the back of getting way over excited on seeing the 15s about my favourite galloper on the Thursday and going far harder than I’d planned on him. I had very few other bets on the day, basically Hot Danish to cover losses and when she got rolled I thought I’m gonna cop a hiding here – I’ve let the heart rule the head on this one. When I saw him second last of the bunch with them all over on the outside rail I thought “can’t win”. Then he took off. I just remember G. Miles getting into his final notes on the call hailing First Commander the winner, and I thought “this ain’t over yet” as he threaded through and just exploded – how good is he? When he hit the line and I knew he’d got there, I just thought that’s exactly what you punt for, what a buzz.

Leave a Comment