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Mystic Journey reaches a fork in the road for her spring campaign in the Group 1 $500,000 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at Flemington tomorrow.
This is the race that will show once and for all if Mystic Journey can run a middle distance and is a worthy Cox Plate favourite.
If the boom Tasmanian mare struggles to stay the trip, then she could be switched back in distance for the Golden Eagle.
There have been doubts raised about Mystic Journey’s stamina reserves after she failed to run down $101 outsider Gatting in the Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
Trainer Adam Trinder (pictured right with Mystic Journey) remains confident his star mare will run the Turnbull trip right out and confirm her place in the Cox Plate later this month.
“Mystic Journey is racing over 2000m for the first time but I trust she will run it,’’ Trinder said.
“She gives herself every opportunity because she settles in the run, drops her head and relaxes, then builds. We obviously need to see her go to the races and run 2000m. I feel she will.
“Hopefully she is really competitive and runs a strong 2000m, then we can go to the Cox Plate.’’
Trinder believes the barrier draw which has Mystic Journey starting out of gate nine should ensure she gets the opportunity to run a strong 2000m.
“She can go back and relax early then blend in from the 700m on the three-wide line,’’ he said.
“I would hope she can find the back of a horse like Hartnell and track him into the race.
“She has done really well since the Makybe Diva. She’s tightened up and looks lovely and bright in the coat.’’
Form guru Gary Crispe rates Queensland Derby winner Mr Quickie a potential thorn in the side for Mystic Journey tomorrow.
Crispe said Mr Quickie ran a “cracking Turnbull trial’’ when closing fast for third behind Gatting and Mystic Journey in the Makybe Diva Stakes.
“Mr Quickie launched from the back half of the field to grab third, finishing on the heels of runner-up Mystic Journey and surprise winner Gatting, who had both raced on-speed,’’ Crispe said.
“He ran to a Timeform rating of 116, up from the 114 he returned to win the Queensland Derby.
“That win signed off an extremely successful three-year-old campaign where he won no less than nine times.
“His fresh run in the Makybe Diva Stakes says that he has trained on and that he is capable of turning the tables on Mystic Journey now they are out to 2000m.
“Mystic Journey will be no easy nut to crack, however, and clearly heads the field on Timeform ratings, with her All Star Mile win back in the autumn earning her a mark of 124.
“But she has been short of that rating in two runs this time, around although she hasn’t been disappointing. It’s unlikely she could get away with the race merely holding her form out to the longer trip. She is going to need to get back to something like her best.’’
Article taken from Daily Telegraph, published Friday 4th October 2019, Author, Ray Thomas, Page 39.