Vigor takes aim at the Turnbull

Flemington trainer Danny O'Brien says Vigor can rebound against the topweights in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes and consolidate his stranglehold on Caulfield Cup favouritism.

Vigor guaranteed himself a Cup start when he won last month's Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, pictured above, and ever since has been a dominant favourite.

On Friday, TAB Sportsbet quoted him at $5.50 ahead of Daffodil ($9) but that could be generous if he can beat Saturday's crack Turnbull field.

Last start he was a luckless sixth in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) after twice being blocked for a run in the last 200 metres and finishing just over two lengths behind the winner Heart Of Dreams.

"Last start he never really got the chance to wind up but he's done well since the run and I'm happy with him," O'Brien said.

The winner of eight of his 18 starts, Vigor drops 1.5kg to 57.5kg in the Turnbull which could be significant against Melbourne Cup winner Viewed, Cox Plate winners El Segundo and Maldivian, Cox Plate runner-up Zipping and Doomben and Brisbane Cup winner Scenic Shot.

On Saturday they will all carry the maximum 59kg and only six horses in the last 20 years have won with so much weight and not since Northerly seven years ago.

Vigor, who is $4.80 Turnbull favourite, also has a familiar formline to eight of the last 20 Turnbull Stakes winners who all had top six finishes in the Underwood Stakes.

Underwood third placegetter Predatory Pricer ($5) and Red Ruler ($8) who was fifth are also in Turnbull contention with 56.5kg and 54.5kg respectively.

Maldivian is third favourite for the Turnbull after a gutbusting fourth in the Underwood.

O'Brien said it was unusual to have a horse like Vigor who he believes with luck could have won his last nine starts.

"He has won six of his last nine but he was probably unlucky in three of them," O'Brien said.

O'Brien nearly won the Turnbull last year with second-placed Master O'Reilly and he isn't discounting his chances of going one better this year.

With his regular rider Vlad Duric back from Singapore to ride the seven-year-old for the first time this spring, he has the same weight as Vigor and is at $14.

"He's got a good record over 2000 metres at Flemington and he is going better than last year," O'Brien said.

By Ninesmn, to view full story click here

Photo by Bruno Cannatelli, to view Bruno's website click here

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