Trainer Matthew Williams has revealed that the 2017 Australian Cup is the long-term goal for Turnitaround after he returned to winning form in the 2016 Eclipse Stakes at Ladbrokes Park this afternoon.
Turnitaround drew towards the outside of the Eclipse Stakes, but jockey Hugh Bowman was able to get the Hard Spun gelding in a lovely position before timed his run to perfection in the final stages of the race.
Bowman revealed after the race that Turnitaround had looked around after he hit the front in the Eclipse Stakes, but he was delighted that the six-year-old was able to hold on and deliver him a maiden win at Ladbrokes Park.
“He was caught wide from the terrible barrier at Flemington last start and he went up sharply in distance as well,” Bowman said.
“I didn’t expect to be as close as I was today, I expected to be midfield and there was just no tempo whatsoever and nobody wanted to be there.
“I was able to get there comfortably and he relaxed beautifully.
“He picked up nicely from the 600 and gave a good kick at the 300 when I really asked him for the supreme effort.
“He got the wanders a little bit late and I pulled the whip through the right hand when I would have been better off leaving it in my left because he had a good think about it when I used it in the right.
“He is a beautiful consistent horse and it is lovely to ride my first winner at Sandown.”
Williams said that Turnitaround had excuses when he finished tenth behind Fabrizio in the Listed James Boag’s Premium Stakes (1800m) at Flemington on Melbourne Cup Day and he was confident that the gelding would be able to return to his best form in the Eclipse Stakes.
The Warrnambool-based trainer believes that Turnitaround is likely to remain at Stakes company and he said that the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington in March could be the long-term goal for his star galloper.
“He just switched off beautifully behind the leader and did no work,” Williams said.
“We thought that if he had drawn a gate today we would have been coming down quite confident that he would run top three, but the gate just made it a little bit awkward.
“Huge overcame that and it has all gone to plan.
“His rating is getting up and he is getting harder and harder to place.
“He will have to stay in these sort of Stakes races and an Australian Cup or something like that might be in the pipeline.”
High Church hit the line very strongly with an eye-catching performance, while Lidari also made up good ground late for third.