PUISSANCE de Lune continues his pursuit of group 1 glory in the $500,000 Turnbull Stakes, 2000m, at Flemington on Saturday.
The six-year-old has had two tries in group 1 company.
He was nosed out by Foreteller in the Makybe Diva Strakes, 1600m, and was then never in contention after getting back in the Underwood Stakes, 1800m.
Puissance de Lune has been the hype horse of the spring so far and he puts that on the line in the Turnbull.
Ballarat trainer Darren Weir expects the entire to settle in a forward position – the first three or four - from barrier one to not only stake a claim in his bid for victory, but confirm his status as a leading Cox Plate hope and Melbourne Cup favourite.
DAN O’Sullivan also fine tunes Tuscan Fire’s Caulfield Cup preparation in the Turnbull Stakes.
The seven-year-old has been a late comer to the big time and has pleased O’Sullivan every step of the way this campaign.
With a Caulfield Cup run secured, O’Sullivan could have easily gone to Sunday’s Benalla Cup instead, but he has chosen for another crack at the best stayers going around.
BALLARAT’S other key players at Flemington:
CALCATTA (Robert Smerdon*) – R4 listed $120,000 Cap D’Antibes Stakes, 1000m. 2 wins and 3 seconds in 7 starts. Won listed Dequetteville Stakes, 1100m, in Adelaide two starts ago in April. First up since May 18.
ANATINA (Robert Smerdon*) - R4 listed $120,000 Cap D’Antibes Stakes, 1000m. Last start first-up Geelong maiden winner on September 13.
BRITISH GENERAL (Dan O’Sullivan): R5 listed $120,000 Headquarters Tavern Stakes, 1410m. Has great record on this track (7: 3-1-1) and fracing over pet distance third start this preparation. Needs to improve and will be improved.
GOTTA TAKE CARE (Darren Weir): R6 listed $120,000 The Bart Cummings, 2520m: Won past two at Moonee Valley over 2500m. Will love the trip, but this is a massive step up in class. Will run another honest race.
GODIVA ROCK (Michael Kent*): R7 group 2 $220,000 Edward Manifold Stakes, 1610m. Yet to win, but arguable best maiden 3yo filly going around. Three thirds in her four starts, including the Blue Diamond Stakes.
POLITENESS (Robert Smerdon*): R7 group 2 $220,000 Edward Manifold Stakes, 1610m. He r chance to shine.
PLATELET (Darren Weir): R9 group 2 $220,000 Gilgai Stakes, 1200m. Two-time group 1-winning mare which will be much better for first-up fourth. Best from a smother when pace is on.
LAKE SENTENTIA (Darren Weir): R10 group 2 $220,000 Blazer Stakes, 1410m. Failed to run on in her return from a spell. Classy, but has to lift.
COUNTRY CUPS TIME
THE country cups scene is beginning to hot up with Gunbower and Murtoa feature events on Saturday, and Benalla and Bairnsdale on Sunday.
Ballarat’s mains presence is at Murtoa.
Barry James has former Patinack Farms stayer Isopach in the $25,0000 Murtoa Cup, 2050m.
Isopach ran an even race when a first-up sixth to Flying Hussler (racing in the Benalla Cup) in the Gold Nugget in Ballarat on a heavy9.
Although 12 lengths off the pace, he did enough and has a class factor to suggest he is a huge winning chance here.
Hurdy Gurdy Man (Darren Weir) is top weight, but will need a huge improvement after failing to beat home a runner in his two runs back after a bleeding attack ban.
Robert Smerdon’s Caulfield/Ballarat stable) has consistent import Verdant in the $100,000 Benalla Cup, 2046m, on Sunday.
BEST BETS FROM BALLARAT STABLES
ISOPACH (Barry James) - R6 Murtoa on Saturday. Murtoa Cup.
STYLISH LILY (Darren Weir): R5 Murtoa on Saturday. Fillies’ and mares’ benchmark 64 handicap, 1100m.
GODIVA ROCK (Michael Kent*): R7 Flemington on Saturday. Group 2 $220,000 Edward Manifold Stakes, 1610m.
Ballarat Turf Club has its next race meeting on Thursday, October 10.
BALLARAT STABLE FIRST STARTERS
PRESTO (trained by Patrick Payne*): R1 Flemington on Saturday. Favelon-Al’s Jewly 2yo colt
HOLY COW (Mick Kent*): R4 Flemington on Saturday. Teofilo-Mermaid Island 3yo filly.
EXFORD LAD (Graeme Hicks): R1 Murtoa on Saturday. Umatilla-Our Poppixaar 4yo gelding.
MEDIUM RARE (Patrick Payne*): R1 Benalla on Sunday. Perfectly Ready-Lonestar Lady 3yo gelding.
SYLVAN DANCER (Barry James): R1 Swan Hill on Monday. All Chatter-Sylvan Waltz 3yo gelding.
BALLARAT STABLE WINNERS IN PAST WEEK
FAST ENTRY (Darren Weir) - maiden, 1600m, at Hamilton on Friday, October 4.
SCARLET BILLOWS (Darren Weir) – 3yo fillies’ 0-78 handicap, 1200m, at Moonee Valley on Friday, October 4.
SCRATCHY BOTTOM (Mick Kent*) – 3yo maiden, 1533m, at Moonee Valley on Friday, October 4.
ACCORD (Mick Kent*) - maiden, 1600m, at Moonee Valley on Friday, October 4.
ELECTRIC FUSION (Robert Smerdon*) – 0-78 handicap, 1533m, at Moonee Valley on Friday, October 4.
THROW THE KING (John Sadler*) – maiden, 1600m, at Bendigo on Thursday, October 3.
VIVALDI (Janet Collins) – maiden, 1400m, in Ballarat on Wednesday, October 2.
REEL WAY (Mark Lewis) - 0-64 handicap, 1000m, in Ballarat on Wednesday, October 2.
QUICK SHAKES (Simon Morrish) – showcase benchmark78, 1600m, in Ballarat on Wednesday, October 2.
OH TEARY ME (Keith Carnes) – deadheat in showcase 0-64 handicap, 1200m, in Ballarat on Wednesday, October 2.
BOLD ZAMOUR (Mick Kent*) – 0-58 handicap, 2100m, at Kilmore on Tuesday, October 1.
TRUST IN GUST (Darren Weir) - 3yo benchmark64 handicap, 1309m, at Stawell on Monday, September 30.
MAY’S DREAM (Darren Weir) – 3yo fillies handicap, 1400m, at Caulfield on Sunday, September 29.
SYLVAN ROYALE (Barry James) - maiden, 1000m, at Coleraine on Sunday, September 29.