History says the winner of one of the Spring Racing Carnival’s big three, maybe more, will emerge from Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 Turnbull Stakes at Flemington. In all but two of the past 15 years, the winner of at least one of the Melbourne Cup, Caulfield Cup or Cox Plate has come through the Turnbull Stakes, reports Racing Victoria’s Brad Bishop.

In six of those years, the Turnbull produced the winner of two of those majors.

Eight of the past 14 winners of the Caulfield Cup have had their final lead up in the Turnbull Stakes, including Sky Heights (1999), Northerly (2002) and Elvstroem (2004), who did the double.

Northerly also won the Cox Plate the year that he snared the Turnbull and Caulfield Cup. He’s one of five Cox Plate winners to come through the race since 2000 with Makybe Diva having also done the double in 2005.

The champion mare also won the Melbourne Cup that year, as she did in 2003 and 2004 after contesting the Turnbull Stakes. Green Moon completed the double last year, while Jezabeel and Efficient the other Melbourne Cup winners to come via the Turnbull in past 15 years.

But while easy to say a feature winner will come out of the Turnbull, it doesn’t help us make any folding out of Saturday’s race.

It has been targeted by leading contenders for all three races, including the two Caulfield Cup favourites Hawkspur and Royal Descent, who are both trained by Chris Waller and will be making their Melbourne debut.

That hasn’t been the recipe for Turnbull success, however, with just three of the past 30 winners coming off a Sydney lead-up run.

Royal Descent and Hawkspur ran second and fourth respectively in the George Main Stakes at their most recent outing, while Fawkner (fifth in George Main) and Hill Stakes runner-up Glencadam Gold are the others coming off a Sydney run.

Of those who have progressed via the Melbourne lead-ups, the 1800m Underwood Stakes has been the most popular final lead-up among Turnbull Stakes winners, having produced 12 of the past 30.

The Dato Tan Chin Nam Stakes (1600m) has also produced 12 of the past 30 Turnbull winners, but only eight of those went from the Dato to the Turnbull.

Zipping won the 2010 Turnbull straight off the Dato and he is the only horse in the last 10 years to carry more than 57.5kg to victory. Manighar (59kg) is the lone horse in this year’s race who will carry more than 57.5kg.

Zipping was $17 when he won and recent Turnbulls have been either popular with the majority of punters or a blow out.

Seven times in the past 15 years the favourite, or equal favourite, has saluted, including December Draw ($2.15) and Green Moon ($4) the past two years. Six of the other eight have been double-figure odds.

Unlike last week’s feature, the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes, which is often won by horse from a wide barrier, single-digit barriers are important in the Turnbull Stakes with the past seven winners coming from between barriers two and eight. Barrier eight has provided three of those winners.

The Turnbull Stakes is not the only race on Saturday’s Flemington card that is a traditional lead-up to a later feature with Schweppes Thousand Guineas hopefuls to go around in the $220,000 Edward Manifold Stakes.

The 1600m Group 2 has produced nine of the past 15 Guineas winners, including last year’s Guineas heroine Commanding Jewel.

The Thousand Guineas Prelude has produced more Edward Manifold winners than any other – 11 of the past 20 – and Guineas Prelude third placegetter Politeness, Lady Lakshmi (fifth) and Se Sauver (sixth) will be looking to add to that this weekend.

Another race has emerged as a good guide in recent years, however, with Majestic Music and Maybe Discreet both winning the Edward Manifold off victory in the Morphettville Guineas.

Star Fashion, runner-up in the Morphettville Guineas, is the only runner in this year’s Manifold who has come via the Adelaide race.

By Brad Bishop