Turnbull guide to spring: O'Brien

Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien says tomorrow's Turnbull Stakes will be the race of the spring carnival.

"It's a high-quality race with virtually every top horse. After this they all head in different directions," O'Brien said yesterday.

He has two runners: Master O'Reilly and Alexander Of Hales.

"It is the race where you want to see something from horses," O'Brien said.

"It is the race where you find out whether you are on track for your spring goals. After the Turnbull you will know precisely where you are at."

O'Brien said last year's Caulfield Cup winner Master O'Reilly was ready to run a big race.

"It's two weeks before the Caulfield Cup. You want him to run well," he said.

"I thought he ran well in the Makybe Diva. His work has been good since and I think he's on track to run a cracking race, which is what I want leading into a Caulfield Cup.

"He's a lot fitter than he has been. We'll know where we are at after Saturday."

O'Brien said former Irish stayer Alexander Of Hales would look to take a position in the leading three or four.

His other major spring staying hope Gallopin left for Sydney last night to contest The Metropolitan tomorrow.

"It's not an overly strong race. He's ready to run 2400m and the big track at Randwick will suit him," he said.

O'Brien will start his smart mare Absolut Glam in the Blazer Stakes (1410m). She will be ridden by Damien Oliver, who replaces James Winks.

"It's a crackerjack race," he said. "There's seven Group 1 winners. It's stronger than the Manikato."

By Michael Manley

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Photo by Bruno Cannatelli

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