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Fairytale finishes highlight TAB Turnbull Stakes Day

There was barely a dry eye in the Flemington Mounting Yard on Saturday as Kings Will Dream completed a remarkable comeback by winning the $500,000 Group 1 TAB Turnbull Stakes (2000m).

The six-year-old gelding suffered what many thought was a career-ending injury during the 2018 Cox Plate and today’s victory was a testament to the horse, his connections and all who helped guide him back to full health.

Trained by Chris Waller, the win also marked the first Group 1 success for young jockey Jye McNeil. Chasing Kings Will Dream into second was Finche, who put in an eye-catching performance on his way to the Lexus Melbourne Cup with Hartnell in third.

Only 40 minutes later it was Surprise Baby who brought Flemington to a standstill with a fast-finishing win in The Bart Cummings (2500m). The Group 3 race offered more than just $500,000 in prizemoney, with ballot exemption from the 2019 Lexus Melbourne Cup also on the line.

Trained in the country Victorian town of Horsham, Surprise Baby is a son of 2009 Melbourne Cup winner Shocking and cost just $5500 as a yearling with connections now counting down the days until the first Tuesday in November.

VRC Chief Executive Officer Neil Wilson said it was another incredible day at Headquarters. “The Bart Cummings is turning into one of the most exciting races on the Flemington calendar, with a golden ticket to this year’s Lexus Melbourne Cup up for grabs and $500,000 in prizemoney,” he said. “This year’s was another brilliant edition with Surprise Baby storming home in the straight. Congratulations to trainer Paul Pruesker and his team from Horsham, jockey Jye McNeil and all of Surpise Baby’s connections. We look forward to welcoming Surprise Baby and his supporters back to Flemington for the race that stops a nation on November 5.”

It was a glorious spring day at Flemington, with more than 18,000 streaming through the gates.

To add to the excitement of TAB Turnbull Stakes Day, electric filly Sunlight showed her rivals a clean pair of heels in the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m), defeating Santa Ana Lane and Zoutori.

Jockey Jordan Childs took home the inaugural Star of the Saddle prize after accruing the most points for the day. Childs won a $50,000 bonus following success aboard Mildred (Darley Maribyrnong Trial Stakes) and Surprise Baby (The Bart Cummings).

Action returns to Flemington for the start of the iconic four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival with AAMI Victoria Derby Day on Saturday 2 November.

Pictures from the day.

Georgia Connolly, Tegan Martin and Crystal Kimber



Crystal Kimber
Tegan Martin
Georgia Connolly

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