Timeform Recap: 2018 Turnbull Stakes

Timeform Recap of the 2018 Turnbull Stakes won by Winx for jockey Hugh Bowman and trainer Chris Waller.

Winx's 28th consecutive win in the 2018 Turnbull Stakes can be largely summed up by our recap of the Winx Stakes a month ago - which you can and should read here.

This was just another round of rope-a-dope on turf for the great mare - although this was an amped up version.

Winx's closing burst has made her famous and her late splits on Saturday (10.74, 10.60, 10.87 from the 600m) to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat have rightly received plenty of fanfare but what she did on Saturday was large - even by her lofty standards.

Closing speed is (in large part) a function of the early speed, which was dawdling at best here. That left Winx awfully placed when the race for home began in earnest. She shouldn't have won, almost couldn't have won, but she won, and did so with room to spare.

The slow early going meant that the race was run in 2:01.60, which under Saturday's conditions equated to a time rating of just 97 on Timeform 's scale, but those closing splits from the 600m mark equate to a finishing speed of 113.2% and hint at Winx being around 17 lengths better than the raw time in a more efficiently run race. This was a sectional Sistine Chapel.

Winx and Hugh Bowman, picture

Of course Winx wasn't the only one finishing fast. All the runners had their final times compromised by the early crawl, but none could live with Winx's finishing burst.

In an efficiently run race the margins (by Racing and Sports' reckoning) would have been more like 7.5 lengths back to Youngstar and 11 lengths back to King's Will Dream - both quite rightly sit at the pointy end of Caulfield Cup betting.

We're forever hearing tales from the track about horses being better than ever, and we've heard them about Winx every campaign since the streak began. In truth, with the bar set as high as it is, it's highly unlikely that Winx is better than ever, but what the clock screams on Saturday is that she isn't worse, and that leaves her good enough to handle anything out there at present.

With a Timeform rating of 134 Winx sits in isolation at the top of the Australian racing tree but there are plenty of good horses down among the branches including the 119-rated Avilius who won his way into the Melbourne Cup by taking out the Bart Cummings on Saturday's undercard.

Harrison rolled along, looking to make the race a test of stamina, but he was ignored by the principal players who finished quickly. Judged on sectionals Jaameh might consider himself an unlucky loser but Avilius is the star turn here.

Avilius looks every bit a Group 1 star in the making. Such a star, in fact, that Jaameh should be brushed aside with little fuss. But he wasn't, the obvious reason being that the trip is Jaameh's ideal and a strain on Avilius.

Will Avilius stay two miles? Time will tell. These Cummings' have a bit of a knack of getting the best out of them in two-mile races at Flemington, but failing there he has plenty of pace to switch back to 2000m in the spring and run (a distant) second to Winx in the autumn.

The other performance of note on Saturday came from Extra Brut in a high-rating edition of the UCI Stakes.

Extra Brut posted a performance that looks about good enough to win a typical VRC Derby and he's with the right stable to hold that form through the next month.

Extra Brut, picture