A run in this Saturday’s Group 1 $750 000 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) may be on the cards for Caulfield Cup third placegetter Vigor. The Danny O’Brien-trained gelding moved to 28th in the order of elimination for the Melbourne Cup after Lee Freedman withdrew The Metropolitan victor Speed Gifted from the November 3 race yesterday, but it wasn’t enough to assure Vigor a start in the Flemington feature.
O’Brien will take no chances and has committed the horse to run on Saturday if he looks in jeopardy of missing a spot in the 24 horse field.
In form hoop Danny Nikolic has been booked to ride Vigor should he run in the Mackinnon and will be vying for a top three finish as the first three placegetters are exempt from ballot in the coveted Melbourne Cup. If Vigor does pull out a top three spot, it will be hard for the Victoria Racing Club committee to deny his form.
O’Brien was originally considering Vigor for the Lexus Stakes (2500m) but received 58kg for the race when weights were released yesterday. O’Brien considered the topweight far too much for the five-year-old. Baraon Boissier was the last horse to carry more than 57kg to victory in the Lexus back in 1957 with the equivalent of 60.5kg.
So O’Brien may have to run him in the Mackinnon in an attempt to gain the much improved runner a start in next Tuesday’s $5.5million Melbourne Cup, for which he has snuck in with only 51kg. Vigor has not been penalised by Racing Victoria’s chief handicapper Greg Carpenter for his win in the Group 2 Makybe Diva Stakes.
O’Brien’s other Melbourne Cup hopeful, Master O’Reilly, is already qualified for the race. The seven-year-old ran a brave fourth to Viewed in the Cup last year, and is on a different lead-up campaign this year. In a change of plans, the gelding is now set to start in the Mackinnon on Saturday before heading to his third consecutive Cup run.
The Mackinnon will also feature Rangirangdoo, the winner of last Saturday’s AAMI Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley.