The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington has attracted a full field of 16 runners, with two emergencies awaiting scratchings to get a start in the hot field on Saturday afternoon.
The Danny Shum-trained Romantic Warrior will be the highlight of the 2023 Turnbull Stakes, which has been earmarked as the Hong Kong raider’s kickoff point for his Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival for some time now.
The son of Acclimation has won 10 of his 14 starts, with three of those wins coming at Group 1 level, including back-to-back victories in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup in 2022 and 2023.
However, a less-than-ideal draw in barrier 11 will not help Romantic Warrior’s chances in the Flemington feature.
As for the local hopes, Chris Waller and the Ciaron Maher & David Eustace team each have four runners in the Turnbull Stakes.
Of those two powerhouse stables, Waller has received much more favourable barrier draws.
Melbourne Cup winner Gold Trip (18) and 2022 Turnbull Stakes winner Smokin’ Romans (17) have drawn horribly and will be joined by Right You Are (16) and Duke De Sessa (12), giving the Maher & Eustace-trained horses four of the eight widest barriers.
As for the Waller contingent, Soulcombe (2), Francesco Guardi (7), Osipenko (6) and El Bodegon (9) have all drawn good barriers and should receive economical runs from inside-to-middle gates.
The 2023 Turnbull Stakes should prove to be a good form reference going forward, as several runners will be pushing onto big Group 1 features throughout the Victorian and Sydney spring carnivals.
Turnbull Stakes 2023 final field