Following track gallops by many of the spring’s key players as part of the Breakfast With The Stars event at Flemington this morning, fields for Saturday’s Victoria Derby Day features including the 2011 Mackinnon Stakes have started to take shape.
Yesterday there were 26 horses nominated for the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m), many of which are keen to win for the ballot free ride into Tuesday week’s 2011 Melbourne Cup field.
Today the connections of a number of the Mackinnon Stakes nominees declared that they would not be accepting when the final field is released on Wednesday.
2011 Mackinnon Stakes Nominees to Defect from Final Field:
- Secret Admirer (Grahame Begg) – Epsom Handicap winner who ran fifth in the Cox Plate last weekend will not run at all this Saturday, Begg to withdraw her from both the Mackinnon and the Myer Classic opting to go straight into next week’s 2011 Emirates Stakes on the final day of the Cup Carnival.
- Unusual Suspect (Michael Kent) – American import ran sixth in the Caulfield Cup last start, producing the fastest sectionals of any runner in the feature, and will bypass Derby Day going straight to the Melbourne Cup for which they are rated a $26 chance for at Luxbet
“We don’t have to run him, he’s in the Cup, he’s coming along nicely,” Part-owner Peter Lord said of Unusual Suspect.
There was also confirmation from a number of trainers this morning that the Mackinnon Stakes was the target for their horses including premier Victorian horseman Peter Moody saying Lights Of Heaven would accept for the Mackinnon and not the $500,000 Group 1 Myer Classic (1600m) on Saturday.
2011 Mackinnon Stakes Nominees to Accept for the Final Field:
- Lights Of Heaven (Peter Moody) – Moody believes the Myer Classic over the mile will better suit his Zabeel mare, last seen running third to Descarado in the Caulfield Stakes, especially with a Cups campaign now off the cards
- Glass Harmonium (Michael Moroney) – Finished outside the top four in their first run since debuting down under back in May when a disappointing 10th in the Cox Plate last weekend, Melbourne Cup acceptance relies on their Mackinnon run, they are in the field (7th on the order of entry) but may not start on the first Tuesday of November if they don’t perform here, paying $81 in the Melbourne Cup markets at Luxbet
Meanwhile, recent Caulfield Cup winner Southern Speed had her first major piece of work since her upset victory in the first of the spring majors at Flemington this morning.
The talented South Australian-trained mare is due to be ridden by red-hot hoop Craig Williams in the Mackinnon on Saturday before being turned out to the paddock for a well-deserved rest ahead of the autumn.
Southern Speed did everything right in her Flemington gallop this morning when ridden by Clare Lindop, pulling up well have a slight blow.
“She looks a million dollars,” co-trainer Leon Macdonald said of Southern Speed this week.
“She has done everything right since the Caulfield Cup and I couldn’t be happier.”
The Mackinnon Stakes is a crucial Melbourne Cup guide for fans and punters and was won last year by the heroic So You Think before their third to Americain in the 150th edition of the Cup.
Americain is favourite in the Melbourne Cup 2011 markets to go back-to-back at a quote of $4 through Luxbet.
View the full Melbourne Cup odds and options open now at Luxbet, where the hottest Derby Day offers will also be found including Best Tote Exotics + 5% Bonus available for every race at Flemington this Saturday.