December Draw gets his chance to cement his spot at the head of the Caulfield Cup market when he lines up to defend last year’s win in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington tomorrow.
Big race jockey Michael Rodd says that December Draw is back to the form that saw the seven year old sent out the favourite in last year’s Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m).
But tragedy struck and trainer Mark Kavanagh was forced to send the gelding for a lengthy spell after pulling up lame with a fractured bone in his leg.
December Draw showed his followers that he was back on track with an eye catching third at his second run back to Ocean Park in the Group 1 $400,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on September 22.
“There were probably a few question marks over him so it was good to see him perform like that, he really found the line well and he has come on since that which is encouraging,” Rodd said.
“He should be hitting his straps I reckon. There might be more to come after Saturday but he’s not far off his top so I expect him to be right there in the finish.”
At this stage last year December Draw was going into the Turnbull as favourite after winning the Group 3 $150,000 D’Urban Naturalism Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield and was able to nab front runner Glass Harmonium right on the line to take at the 2000m Group 1.
But then the Medecis gelding’s racing career was in jeopardy after finishing last with Kavanagh subsequently reporting a fracture to the lateral splint bone.
After a long spell Kavanagh was able to nurse December Draw back to the race track and after a mediocre eighth to Southern Speed in the Group 2 $300,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 8, the seven year old produced some of his old zest to finish second in the Underwood.
According to Rodd, December Draw has really blossomed at the right time and is ready to re-enter the winner’s stall at Flemington tomorrow.
“He’s one of the better credentialed horses going into the race and it looks a lovely race for him, a really good opportunity to defend his title,” Rodd said.
“We know he’s back, we know that much, we just want to see what level he has come back and this is going to show us if he has improved on last year.”
“He’s looking fantastic, his work has been first class so he should go really well.”
In a wide betting race, December Draw is the $6 second favourite for the Turnbull behind the Robert Hichmott trained Green Moon at $4.80 with Southern Speed at $7 just ahead of the Voila Ici and Linton on the next line of betting at $8.
In early Caulfield Cup markets we see December Draw at the top spot at $9 ahead of last year’s winner Southern Speed at $12 and Green Moon at $13.