Group 1 Racing Preview – Saturday 1st October 2022

Punters can look forward to a quartet of exciting Group 1 races on Saturday. A strong field will gather at Flemington to vie for glory in the $1 million Turnbull Stakes, which is a key lead-up to the Caulfield Cup.

Over in Sydney, some of the country’s top milers will descend upon Randwick to vie for glory in the $1.5 million Epsom Handicap. Randwick will also play host to the Flight Stakes and The Metropolitan, so it promises to be an action-packed day.

We have previewed all four races below. Read on to learn more about the leading contenders, the race details and the key winner trends that have developed in recent years.


Turnbull Stakes

The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes will take place at 16:25 AEST at Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne. The last two winners – Verry Elleegant and Incentivise – went on to win the Caulfield Cup later that year, so this race will generate a great deal of interest among punters. Former winners include Winx, Makybe Diva, Tobin Bronze, Comic Court, Bernborough and Ajax.

This year’s favourite is Gold Trip. He arrived in Melbourne last spring to contest the Cox Plate, after catching the eye in several Group 1 races in France, but he was controversially scratched on the eve of the race. Gold Trip has only raced twice for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. He was most recently seen finishing third in the Group 3 MRC Foundation Cup over 3000m at Caulfield, a race won by stablemate Smokin’ Romans.

However, he gave the winner 6kg in that race, and he will now drop 5.5kg, as the Turnbull Stakes is run under set weights. Gold Trip will also be paired with star jockey Jamie Kah for the first time. He is expected to enjoy the expansive Flemington track, while conditions should suit him, so he is the favourite for this race.

Second favourite Duais has drawn Barrier 5, but she will need to improve after finishing unplaced in both starts this spring. She could enjoy the longer distance on Saturday. Profondo, Inspirational Girl and Young Werther also look dangerous, while Smokin’ Romans is an interesting long-shot following his impressive performance at Caulfield.

Turnbull Stakes Preview & Betting

The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes takes place over a distance of 2000m on the left-handed turf track at Flemington on Saturday.

Runner Fixed Win Fixed Place
Gold Trip 3.80 1.70
Duais 4.40 1.85
Profondo 9.00 2.70
Inspirational Girl 13.00 3.70
Young Werther 13.00 3.80
Alegron 14.00 4.00
Numerian 17.00 4.60
Great House 19.00 5.00
Knights Order 19.00 5.00
Smokin’ Romans 19.00 5.00
Maximal 21.00 5.00
Surefire 21.00 5.00
Chapada 26.00 6.00
Hezashocka 41.00 7.50
Crystal Pegasus 67.00 10.00
Luncies 67.00 10.00
Milford 151.00 20.00


Randwick Group 1 Racing Preview

Flight Stakes

The Flight Stakes will get underway at 14:45 on Saturday. It is Race 6 on a 10-race card at Royal Randwick.

The Flight Stakes is the first of three Group 1 races at Randwick on Saturday. It offers a $750,000 prize purse and it is a prestigious, historic race, which has helped to attract a strong field. The Flight Stakes takes place over a distance of 1600m on the right-handed turf track at Randwick and it is run at set weights.

This race is only open to three-year-old fillies. It is named after Australian Hall of Fame inductee Flight, who won back-to-back Cox Plates in 1945 and 1946. The race was first run in 1947, and it has held Group 1 status since 1985.

Gary Portelli’s Fireburn is the favourite for this race. She claimed a maiden Group 1 triumph when she finished ahead of Best Of Bordeaux and Coolangatta to clinch the Golden Slipper in March. Fireburn returned to action in the Run To The Rose, when she finished four lengths behind winner In Secret. A wide draw hampered her chances of success in the Golden Rose last weekend, but she produced a strong performance to finish fifth. She should enjoy a step up from 1400m to 1600m on Saturday, but she will need to recover quickly on this rapid seven-day backup.

Zougatcha has been very impressive during the current campaign. She finished ahead of In Secret to win the Silver Shadow Stakes – a performance that looks even more impressive after In Secret won the Tun To The Rose and finished second in the Golden Rose – and she then held off fierce pressure to win the Tea Rose.

She’s Extreme is another one to watch. She got the better of Fireburn in their only duel over 1600m, and she relishes running on rain-affected ground. Rain is indeed forecast in Sydney in the build-up to this race, so she could give Fireburn and Zougotcha a run for their money.

Flight Stakes Betting Preview

Runner Fixed Win Fixed Place
Fireburn 2.50 1.26
Zougotcha 3.40 1.40
She’s Extreme 6.00 1.80
Wolverine 7.50 2.00
North Star Lass 11.00 2.50
Madame Pommery 13.00 2.80
Pavitra 51.00 7.00
Renaissance Woman 67.00 8.00
Byron Belle 101.00 11.00
Whisker To Whisker 101.00 11.00


Epsom Handicap

The Epsom Handicap is scheduled to begin at 16:05 on Saturday. It will be the eighth race on the card at Randwick.

This Group 1 handicap race takes place over 1600m at Randwick, and the winner will earn ballot exemption for the Queen Elizabeth Stakes. The list of previous champions includes some of the greatest milers in history, such as Super Impose, Gunsynd and Chatham.

Icebath heads the betting for the Epsom Handicap. She is seeking a maiden stakes win, but she has placed in five out of eight Group 1 races throughout her career. Icebath has been unlucky a couple of times, and she seems well overdue a G1 win, having previously finished runner-up in the Golden Eagle. Star jockey James McDonald has been booked to ride her.

Chris Waller will mount a three-pronged assault on the race, as he prepares to send Hinged, Fangirl and Kiku into battle. Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott have a strong hand too, featuring Randwick Guineas winner Converge and Winter Challenge winner Cross Talk.

There is also a great deal of excitement surrounding Annabel Neasham’s Top Ranked, who landed an impressive win in the Group 3 Bill Ritchie Stakes after returning to action following a spell. Nimalee is a former Group 1 winner, and prevailed the Group 2 Golden Pendant last weekend, and Ellsberg placed in the G2 Shannon Stakes, showing just how stacked the field will be.

Epsom Handicap Betting Preview

Runner Fixed Win Fixed Place
Icebath 3.80 1.6
Hinged 4.2 1.65
Top Ranked 4.4 1.7
Cross Talk 9.5 2.7
Fangirl 9.5 2.8
Nimalee 13 3.4
Converge 18 4.2
Ellsberg 20 4.2
Kiku 26 5.5
War Eternal 26 5.5
Pippali 71 11

The Metropolitan

The Metropolitan is the penultimate race at Randwick on Saturday, with a scheduled start time of 16:45.

The Metropolitan is the premier staying event of the Sydney Spring Racing Carnival. It takes place over 2400m this weekend under handicap conditions. This race was initially run over 3200m back in 1863, but it was gradually reduced over the years. It became a Group 1 event in 1979. Previous winners include Ming Dynasty and Railings.

Waller will account for seven of the 15 runners in the field. The champion trainer has three previous wins in The Metropolitan, including Patrick Erin in 2018 and Come Play With Me in 2019. His hand includes the favourite Durston, who will jump from Barrier 8. Durston won the Newcastle Gold Cup earlier this month, finishing ahead of Calif.

Le Don De Vie is trained by Maher and Eustace. He last raced in August, finishing midfield behind Arapaho. Grove Ferry is in winning form, while Stockman is a proven performer at this level and distance. Surefire is dangerous, but he prefers a dry track, and the rain forecast to descend upon Sydney could be his undoing. Hameron could be an interesting long-shot, as he can handle the conditions, he will only carry 51kg and he performed well at Rosehill when finishing third in the 1900m Cleanaway Handicap last weekend.

The Metropolitan Betting Preview

Runner Fixed Win Fixed Place
Durston 3.80 1.80
Le Don De Vie 7.00 2.50
Grove Ferry 7.50 2.60
Stockman 9.00 3.00
Surefire 9.00 3.00
No Compromise 12.00 3.60
Arapaho 13.00 3.80
Hameron 15.00 4.20
Mankayan 18.00 4.80
Chalk Stream 26.00 6.00
Realm Of Flowers 26.00 6.00
Sacramento 34.00 7.00
Kukeracha 41.00 7.50
Carif 51.00 9.50
Francesco Guardi 51.00 9.50


Saturday 1st October Racing Tips

Gold Trip looks capable of finally delivering upon his potential by securing a commanding victory in the Turnbull Stakes.

A bet on She’s Extreme to place in the Flight Stakes looks appealing, as she will relish the conditions. Nimalee also looks well-priced to place in the Epsom Handicap, while Hameron is an attractive long-shot in The Metropolitan.


**Odds quoted are accurate at the time of writing but are subject to change.