Racing: Team Williams will be a major spring player

Craig Williams rides Green Moon. Photo / Getty Images
Craig Williams rides Green Moon. Photo / Getty Images

The Turnbull Stakes is considered the fork in the road for major spring carnival candidates and on Saturday at Flemington, Team Williams confirmed a Caulfield Cup fancy and a Cox Plate main player.

Team Williams (leviathan owner Lloyd and son Nick) enjoyed the rare treat of a quinella in the group one.

Turnbull and Nick immediately declared winner Green Moon would head straight to the Cox Plate and runner-up Seville would tackle the Caulfield Cup on Saturday week.

"You have to pinch yourself. You don't have days like this too often on a racetrack. There is still a bit to go to the ultimate but this was a fantastic result," Nick Williams told the Herald Sun.

By the end of the day, Team Williams enjoyed the quinella, as well as Tanby winning The Bart Cummings and Fawlker saluting in the 1410m listed event. To boot, Cups fancy Mourayan won the group three Craven Stakes (2000m) at Rosehill.

Green Moon was always destined for the Cox Plate at Moonee Valley on October 27 if he performed well. He certainly delivered.

Starting the $4 favourite, he sat in the box seat throughout the 2000m and defeated his fast-finishing stablemate Seville ($31) by a long neck.

Bookmaker Sportsbet.com immediately trimmed Green Moon's Cox Plate price to $8 equal third favourite with More Joyous, behind Pierro ($3) and Ocean Park ($7.50).

German import Seville is guaranteed a run in the Caulfield Cup (2400m) in a fortnight and will carry 1kg less than Saturday, 53.5kg.

The 5-year-old charged down the outside from eighth to push his stablemate for the $300,000 first-prize booty. "He deserves his place in the Caulfield Cup. The question is whether it will all come too quickly this year, but he is in top form," Nick Williams said.

The pair had 1 lengths to spare from December Draw ($6), who won the race last year before breaking down in the Caulfield Cup.

He came from seventh at the 800m with a solid and sustained run.

"There is still plenty of improvement in him," trainer Mark Kavanagh said. "He was held up for a run at a crucial stage, still let down and was looking for longer."

A nose away was Peter Moody import Voila Ici ($6), who again attempted to lead all the way.

An eye-catching run came from Ethiopia ($21), who ran home stoutly.

The disappointing run came from last year's Caulfield Cup winner, Southern Speed ($9).

The mare was sluggish to begin and jockey Glen Boss had her four wide in a bid to regain a position as she raced without rhythm. He joined in at the front at the top of the straight but weakened badly to finish 15th.

Trainer Leon Macdonald was bewildered. "We will have the vets to her and if she is fine we will press on. But I'm horribly disappointed and it is a long way from this performance today to defending a Caulfield Cup," he said.

- AAP

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