Turnbull's chance to honour grandmother

AMANDA Turnbull might have narrowly missed out on success in the Group 3 Christmas Gift Final (1,609 metres) at Menangle Park on Saturday night, but before the week is out she has the chance to snare an even bigger prize.

She will drive one of three runners her father-trainer Steve Turnbull will field in the annual Shirley Turnbull Memorial on Boxing Day, a race which honours Amanda's late grandmother.

Amanda tasted success in the feature back in 2007 when getting the job done with Gold Claim and both she and her father - himself a four-time winning driver in the memorial - are hopeful of another success.

My Dusky Sound, Ardle McArdle and Runaway Red will form their three-pronged attack.

"It is a good race for free-for-all horses at this time of the year and we are lucky enough to have a couple going well," Steve said.

"It is always a nice race, for us in particular."

While the final field will not be released until late this afternoon, all three of the Turnbull runners could be considered a chance.

My Dusky Sound won the Group 2 Smoken Up Final on Miracle Mile night while Ardle McArdle placed second in the Christmas Gift on Saturday night with Amanda in the gig.

"They are both in good form and will be very competitive. Runaway Red could go there as well after running third [at Bathurst] on Friday night," Steve said.

In the $30,000 Christmas Gift Final it was two Bathurst hopefuls that led the way for much of the journey in Ardle McArdle and the Chris Frisby trained Uncle Lile - another who will contest the Shirley Turnbull Memorial.

Going from barrier two, Uncle Lile ($8) got the best of the start and took up front position, but Ardle McArdle ($13.10) soon rolled up on his outside. Together they covered the first half of the mile in a zippy 58.4 seconds and as the field headed for home, they were travelling well.

While the field packed up behind them, Uncle Lile still held the advantage out of the final bend. Ardle McArdle then made a challenge on his outside and took the lead, but Elrama ($8.40) was flying wide on the track.

The Paul Fiztpatrick runner powered home to take the win in a 1:55.4 mile rate with Ardle McArdle 1.3m back in second with the same margin to Uncle Lile in third.

Though beaten, it was a good run from the Bathurst placegetters and will only further serve to motivate Amanda to find success on Thursday.

Given she will move to Victoria next year to work with Nathan Jack, it would be a fitting way to cap off 2013, even though she will likely make the trip back to the Bathurst Paceway at times in 2014.

"She will do the Gold Crown before moving and hopefully she will be able to come back and drive a few for us because she is only six hours away," her father said.

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