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Australian Racing: Warrior backed for Turnbull glory

There's Group 1 action from Flemington on Saturday, with the Turnbull Stakes taking centre stage, plus there are a couple of valuable contests at Rosehill, including the Group 2 Petaluma Hill Stakes.

Race 8 Flemington

Romantic Warrior @ 2.20

Race 7 Rosehill

Protagonist @ 8.00

Race 8 Rosehill

Detonator Jack @ 6.50

Turnbull triumph awaits Romantic Warrior

The previously mentioned Group 1 Turnbull Stakes has an international flavour this time around, with West Wind Blows and Hong Kong star Romantic Warrior in the field.

The first named showed good form in Group company in Europe, including when taking the Group 3 La Coupe over this trip at Longchamp in June.

The five-year-old has followed that up with three placed efforts, however, he proved no match for Paddington when a well held third of four in the Group 1 Eclipse Stakes at Sandown.

The son of Teofilo lost out narrowly when runner-up in the Group 3 WInter Hill Stakes over 2011m at Windsor in August and it’s likely more is needed if he is to take this event.

ROMANTIC WARRIOR is preferred here and, while expected to jump at short odds, he has shown strong form at the top level in Hong Kong in the last year.

Those efforts include an impressive four-and-a-half-length victory in the 2000m Group 1 Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin in December.

While successful just once from his four subsequent starts, the 2.20 pick has finished no worse than second since a fourth over 1800m at Sha Tin in February last year.

The six-year-old has yet to race on a soft 6 track, but the Acclamation gelding should handle it and he is expected to prove hard to beat with James McDonald up for Danny Chum.

Protagonist goes for Petaluma Hill glory

At $2,000,000 the Group 2 Petaluma Hill Stakes over 1900m at Rosehill is the most valuable race of the day.

A field of 15 have been declared for the race, with Chris Waller sending out a number of runners, headed by Nash Rawiller’s mount Montefilia.

The mare has been beaten less than two-and-a-half-lengths in each of her three starts this spell, including when third in the 2000m Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes at Randwick.

The six-year-old has shown a liking for this track in the past, including when winning the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes here in March last year.

The mare failed in her bid for back-to-back Ranvet victories when finishing second here earlier this year and she is building towards a win.

Ex-European galloper PROTAGONIST is the pick for the Kris Lees stable here, however, having delivered a first up victory over 2000m on his Australian debut back in March.

That victory came in the Group 3 Sky High Stakes held on a good 3 track in March, prior to finishing down the field in a couple of heavy track contests at Randwick in April.

The 8.00 seven-year-old delivered a good fourth, one place behind Montefilia, when racing second up in the previously mentioned Kingston Town.

The selection finished strongly from off the pace on that occasion and is selected to salute under Dylan Gibbons. 

Detonator Jack to blossom at Rosehill

The Ciaron Maher & David Eustace-trained DETONATOR JACK has delivered a couple of good efforts in defeat so far this spell, including when fourth over 1200m at Caulfield in August.

That first up effort came when beaten less than half-a-length in the Listed Regar Roller Stakes on a good 4 track.

The 1400m trip he tackles here and ran over when half-a-length third in The Sofitel, a Listed handicap at Flemington, is more to his liking however.

While usually ridden from off the pace, Jason Collett should have options tactically from a rail draw and he is taken to steer 6.50 Detonator Jack to his sixth career win.

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