The Group 1 Turnbull Stakes, staged at Flemington Racecourse each October on Turnbull Stakes Day, is the first major race of the season and kicks the Melbourne Spring Carnival into top gear with a high-class field usually lining up.
Carrying a prize fund of in excess of $500,000, it is a set-weights races for four-year-olds and upwards and run over 2000m. It is typically an early chance to see Melbourne Cup
contenders as they return from spells. It is one of the big races of the early part of the season along with the Caulfield Cup
and the Cox Plate
The race, first run in 1948 when won by Beau Gem, is named after former Victoria Racing Club chairman Richard Turnbull and was upgraded to become a Group 1 in 2006 following Makybe Diva's triumph 12 months earlier. It previously had been a handicap staged over a variety of distances.
Runners in the Turnbull Stakes tend to head onto the Caulfield Stakes a week later or the Caulfield Cup two weeks later before the best run in the Melbourne Cup in November.
The Turnbull Stakes has been a breeding ground for future winners of the Melbourne Cup (four), Caulfield Cup (four) and Cox Plate (eight). In addition to Makybe Diva, other notable names on the role of honour include Rising Fast (1954), Galilee (1968), Super Impose (1989), Let's Elope (1991), Naturalism (1992), Sunline (2000), Northerly (2002), Efficient (2009) and Zipping (2010).
Also taking place on Turnbull Stakes Day are the Group 2 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m), the Group 2 Gilgai Stakes (1200m) and the Group 2 Blazer Stakes (1400m).