Legendary trainer Bart Cummings has confirmed he will run his dual Cox Plate champion So You Think in the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington this Saturday on Victoria Derby Day.
So You Think became the first horse in history to win successive Cox Plates as a three-year-old then four-year-old on Saturday, with a beautiful two and a half length victory over nine-year-old Zipping at Moonee Valley.
Firming into the short-priced favourite for the 2010 Melbourne Cup Tuesday week, So You Think is now also set to start at the top of the odds for the Mackinnon Stakes.
Vying for his unprecedented 13th Melbourne Cup win this year, Cummings is the master when it comes to preparing Melbourne Cup winners and one of his methods is to have his stayers run races over a total distance of 10,000m throughout their spring preparations leading up to Melbourne Cup Day.
Only one of his 12 Melbourne Cup winners, Saintly (1996), did not have their final lead-up run on Victoria Derby Day.
Following a start in the Mackinnon Stakes, star High Chaparral four-year-old So You Think will have run a total of 9,240m in his spring race campaign, which has included wins in the Memsie, Underwood and Yalumba Stakes as well as his historic Cox Plate success on Saturday.
Considering So You Think has never run the testing 3200m of the Melbourne Cup, his maximum distance race being 2040m, there are still concerns surrounding his ability to last the distance.
On his decision to back So You Think up in the Mackinnon on Saturday Cummings said, “The run in the Mackinnon will relax him more and get him used to the track more, be ready for it on Tuesday.”
Other high-profile Melbourne Cup hopefuls due to contest the Mackinnon Stakes are Gai Waterhouse’s Caulfield Cup winner Descarado and Lloyd Williams’ veteran Cox Plate runner-up Zipping.
Both horses are assured of a start in the 150th Melbourne Cup after third declarations were taken this morning, Zipping likely to also face stablemates C’est La Guerre and Mourayan in the Mackinnon on Saturday.
Nominations for the Mackinnon Stakes and the other Victoria Derby Day features including the Group 3 The Lexus Stakes, which also has a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption for the winner, will be released this afternoon.
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