Simon O’Donnell – Turnbull Stakes Day

There is some wonderful racing at Flemington on Sunday as the Melbourne Spring Carnival gathers momentum.

The two races we’re going to concentrate on are the Gilgai Stakes (Race 4) and the Turnbull Stakes (Race 7).

In the Gilgai Stakes over 1200m, I think the stable of David Hayes, Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig will remain in some very strong early spring form and Faatinah will prove too strong sitting on the pace and finding the line hard, just as he did in the Bobbie Lewis Quality on his return to racing this preparation. He sat on the speed and really found the line well. This is better company, yes, but I think he can produce the goods.

Two horses with plenty of experience will be right on his tail. They are The Quarterback and Under the Louvre.

They’ll both sit back and be looking for clear runs over the last furlong, but if they get them they’re going to be a very good chance of running down Faatinah, but I think my top choice will be able to squeeze enough of a break given his early speed to hang on and win at the end of the six-furlong contest.

Keep your eye on Stratum Star. It’s great to see him back over the shorter trip and look for him to be another who is hitting the line hard late.

In the Turnbull Stakes, always a wonderful race over the 2000m, a horse I like is The United States. He’s had some excellent form against good company over the last 18 months and I think he’ll really stamp himself as a class horse this Sunday.

His return to racing in the Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes At Moonee Valley was fantastic. Once he got clear room in the straight he really hit the line well and that’s something you always like to see in a stayer returning fresh for a new campaign and I think he’ll go on with that on the bigger track over 2000m as a stepping stone to a potential tilt at this year’s Cox Plate.

There are some horses with some fantastic form he’ll be competing against.

Jameka blitzed them in the Naturalism Stakes at Caulfield and showed a blistering turn of foot. She’s going to be very competitive again.

NSW visitor Hartnell doesn’t have any home ground advantage, but by geez his last two runs have been super and are good form lines for this race.

It’s going to be a beauty but I’ll go with The United Stakes.

Have a great weekend of racing.

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