The stakes will be high at Flemington on Saturday 5 October, with some of finest thoroughbreds in Australia competing for more than $2.6 million in prizemoney and a valuable ballot exemption for this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup.
Regarded as an exciting preview to some of the Melbourne Cup Carnival majors, TAB Turnbull Stakes Day will see proven and rising stars take to the turf in an all-black type race schedule.
The Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes boasts $500,000 in prizemoney and is the first feature 2000m race of the spring. Winx dazzled racegoers in the past two editions of this race and looking to follow in her footsteps is the Tasmanian-trained mare Mystic Journey. It is her first try at 2000m and while many expect her to win as the $2.70 TAB favourite, she faces tough competition from Group 1 winner Mr Quickie ($4.20), seasoned performer Hartnell ($10) and Lexus Melbourne Cup hopeful Finche ($9).
The nine-race card will kick off with the Listed Darley Maribyrnong Trial Stakes (1000m) for two-year-olds before the stayers take centre stage in the Group 3 Lexus Bart Cummings (2500m). The race offers increased prizemoney of $500,000 as well as direct entry into the $8 million Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) for the winner.
Many will rally around Horsham-trained galloper Surprise Baby who narrowly missed his berth in the Lexus Melbourne Cup via The Andrew Ramsden after being nosed out by Steel Prince in May. Surprise Baby is currently the $2.60 favourite with TAB with his rivals in the Lexus Bart Cummings including 2018 Ebor Handicap winner Muntahaa and Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott’s young stayer Wolfe.
Other notable Group 2 races on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day are the $300,000 Blazer Stakes (1400m), the $300,000 TAB Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) and the $300,000 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), where two of Australia’s best sprinters will face off in Sunlight and Santa Ana Lane.
General admission racegoers can embrace the action from The Lounge, a dedicated space in Saintly Place with views directly in front of the Winning Post. The area will also sport billiards, foosball, craft beers and a range of eats.
Crowd favourite The Lawn Bar is back with plenty of food, beverages, seating, lawn games and live music – all under the shade of umbrellas. Located up-close to the racing action on the Front Lawn ahead of Saintly Place, The Lawn Bar is the perfect place to base yourself for the day while witnessing the thrill of every race.
VRC members can relax in the stylish Rose Bar in The Atrium, which will highlight the splendour of Flemington in spring with botanical-infused cocktails, flowing rosé wine, moreish bites and relaxing acoustic tunes. Gintails on the Roof will provide refreshing gin cocktails, live music and a VIP vantage point of the grounds from The Roof Garden. Plus pint-sized punters will be entertained on the Members Lawn with family-friendly activities for children of all ages.
Children and families can also enjoy a variety of free fun-filled activities including face painting, lawn games, arts and crafts, and a soft play area for the little ones on the Flemington Family Lawn, located at the east end of the Front Lawn near the Makybe Diva Statue.
Racegoers will have the opportunity to meet Living Legends Efficient (NZ) and Fields of Omagh (AUS), as they parade around the Mounting Yard throughout the day.
In The Peak, 3AW’s Ross Stevenson will host his Love Letter to Racing event, where guests will hear from passionate racing enthusiasts including VRC ambassador Georgia Connolly, award-winning jockey Alf Matthews, Supreme Court Justice Terry Forrest, catering connoisseur Georgina Damm and racing commentator Bryan Martin about their personal experiences with racing. All proceeds from the event will be donated to VRC’s 2019 Pin & Win charity partner Very Special Kids.
Racegoers can further support Very Special Kids by purchasing a 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup lapel pin from Pin & Win volunteers, who will be out in force on course.
The pins cost $5 and $10 for a diamante horse shoe pin, with all purchasers able to enter the draw to win over $140,000 worth of prizes.
Gates open at 11.05am on TAB Turnbull Stakes Day, with the first of nine races set to jump at 12.35pm. The last race will run at 5.45pm.
Metro Trains will run services to and from Flemington Racecourse, departing Flinders Street between 10:41am and 7:07pm, and return services departing Flemington from 11:07am until 7:27pm.
Tickets to TAB Turnbull Stakes Day are available for purchase from Flemington.com.au and at the gate. Tickets start at $12 for pensioner/concession, $25 for adults and children under 16 are FREE when accompanied by an adult.