2021 Turnbull Stakes Runner By Runner Preview, Odds & Tips

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Fri 1st October 2021


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It is moving day in the racing world and the Group One Turnbull Stakes is the race that everybody’s eyes will be on. The 2000m handicapped race has just 10 horses meeting the starter but six have won at Group One level previously and will also relish the wet conditions that are expected. 

Many are dubbing this as a match race between Australia’s best horse, Verry Elleegant, and the boom up-and-comer, Incentivise. Sportsbet has the pair both priced under $3, as of Friday morning, with Colette at $8 and Sir Dragonet at $8.50 being the only other options under $20. 

Despite the disparity in the odds, it is an extremely talented field with Group One winners and Cups hopefuls throughout. The final field of 10 horses includes six from the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes, two from a 1700m handicap on the same day and then Chapada and Verry Elleegant who bring completely different formlines all together! Read on below to find out runner by runner preview of the 2021 Turnbull Stakes.

1. Sir Dragonet (10) – $8.50
Jockey – Ben Allen
Trainer – C Maher & D Eustace

The Cox Plate winner had a tremendous first up run in the Makybe Diva Stakes, reeling off the fastest closing sectionals of the race. He was just 0.4L 3rd to Incentivise three weeks ago but now meets him 1.5kg worse at the weights under the set weights and penalties conditions. However, he looks to have returned better than last Spring, when he won the Cox Plate, and any more rain will help his chances.

2. Explosive Jack (3) – $35
Jockey – John Allen
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Despite being over 5L off the leader trio when first up in the Makybe Diva, Explosive Jack’s run was impressive and he will take improvement from that. Expect a better run here as he rises through the distances and prepares for the Cups but will still need further and will perform better later in his prep.

3. Incentivise (6) – $2.80
Jockey – Brett Prebble
Trainer – Peter Moody

Well, what a win that was. Incentivise came out, controlled the race and showed fight to secure his first Group One victory. With the lack of speed projected for this race he looks set to control the race yet again, it is just whether he will be far enough ahead of Verry Elleegant and has the toughness to be able to fight her off in the finish. The lack of rain that has come over the last 48 hours, at least compared to what was expected, is a massive help for him too. 

4. Verry Elleegant (5) – $2.30
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – Chris Waller

Australia’s best horse… for now? Chris Waller and connections chose this race, and the matchup with Incentivise, over a much easier Group Two race up in Sydney. That says a lot about what they want from the 9x Group One winner and that is to prove she is the best and add prestige to her resume. She would have hoped for more rain but will enjoy some give in the turf and she just needs Damian Lane to control her well in the early stages and put her in a spot to burst home late.

5. Johnny Get Angry (2) – $151
Jockey – Lachlan King
Trainer – Denis Pagan

Was never expected to do much first up in the Makybe Diva but was still a bit flat. Will obviously get better as he goes through the distances but is likely to finish towards the rear of the field. 

6. Chapada (8) – $126
Jockey – Daniel Stackhouse
Trainer – Michael Moroney

This seems to be a bit of a stretch for Chapada. While he is a relatively good stayer, proven by winning the 2400m Group Two Herbert Power this time last year, he is out of place in this race and will be another that finishes back in the field.

7. Persan (1) – $21
Jockey – Luke Currie
Trainer – Ciaron Maher & David Eustace

Persan is just such an honest performer. Never seems to put in a bad race and since the start of last year’s Spring Carnival his worst return is fifth, and that was in the Melbourne Cup! While he might be outclassed in this race, especially when he will be better over further, he will give himself every chance and he should be in the top half of the field. 

8. Colette (7) – SCRATCHED
Jockey – Damien Oliver
Trainer – James Cummings

9. Mount Popa (6) – $46
Jockey – Fred Kersley
Trainer – Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes

After winning the Mornington Cup earlier this year, the Caulfield Cup has always been set as Mount Popa’s grand final and this is his last hit out before that. He drops down in weight for this run and looks ready to go third up, but would have to improve to a completely new level to compete here. 

10. Young Werther (4) – $34
Jockey – Daniel Moor
Trainer – Danny O’Brien

Much like Mount Popa, the Caulfield Cup looks to be a race set out for Young Wether so expect him to be performing near his best in his race. While he hasn’t won a race of note, Young Wether always seems to perform consistently and look to be in races to the finish. Expect a big finish from him as he looks for the 2400m of the Caulfield Cup, but won’t contest the finish here.  

Final Word

Where will the money go late? Does Verry Elleegant jump closer to odds on if the rain continues to pour in Melbourne or do punters hunt for the up-and-coming Incentivise to cause the upset. While the money isn’t everything, six of the last 10 favourites have won the Turnbull Stakes, indicating that it is a good place to start. 

While third up over 2000m on a potentially soft track is the ideal setup for Verry Elleegant, only one horse has been able to win the Turnbull Stakes more than once over the last 30 years, Winx in 2017 and 2018. Most punters were loving life with Winx’s back to back wins, unless you backed an outrageous promo like for her to win by 3+ lengths, but can Verry Elleegant follow in her footsteps and reward punters?

This does look to be a two horse race between her and Incentivise, but if any more rain comes, the more that Sir Dragonet get in the race. Sir Dragonet has come back in incredible order this prep and also performs better on soft tracks. It wouldn’t surprise if he put in a massive run, however, it is hard to split the top two in the market and that is the way we are betting. 

Sportsbet October 2nd Bonus Back 5th

Take the quinella with Verry Elleegant and Incentivise then sit back and watch two of the best we have to offer go at it in one of the best races on the calendar. No matter which way they finish, they will be the top two and you should go home a winner and with both Sportsbet and PointsBet being two of the only bookies that offer top tote on exoctics, you should get the most bang for your back by punting with them.

Best Turnbull Stakes Tip: Quinella: 3 (Incentivise), 4 (Verry Elleegant)

There is plenty more Group One racing happening this weekend! If you want to check out our Runner-By-Runner analysis of the Epsom Handicap, click here! If you want a preview of the talented three-year-olds contesting the Flight Stakes, click here! And lastly, if you want to see our analysis on The Metropolitan Handicap, click here!

If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Turnbull Stakes page for all your punting needs!

*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Sportsbet.

Tim is a massive follower of Horse Racing, not only in Australia but around the world. Whether it be the champions of the Spring and Autumn Carnivals or following the form lines throughout winter, Tim always has an eye on everything racing. He attempts to get to every Saturday meet he can, with Turnbull Stakes Day at the home of racing, Flemington, being a stand-out! If you want a tipster that follows all form lines, ratings, conditions and weights, not just favourites, Tim is your guy.