The last punters favourite to salute in a Victoria Derby was Zabeel grey Efficient who started at $2.40 back in 2006, and five years on the now eight-year-old is back on Derby Day this time vying for the Mackinnon Stakes 2011 win.
Lloyd Williams’ veteran galloper and former Melbourne Cup winner Efficient made their return to racing this September after two years on the sidelines.
While they haven’t won in their three revived-career-starts, the popular old galloper has been far from disgraced improving with each run.
Efficient was last seen finishing a very credible sixth beaten four lengths by Pinker Pinker in the Cox Plate last Saturday.
Back in 2007 they ran a more distant ninth in the Cox Plate before going on to take out that year’s Melbourne Cup at their next start when under the preparation of Graeme Rogerson.
This year another shot at Melbourne Cup glory has been taken off the cards for Efficient, meaning if they do take out the $1 million Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) on Saturday the Melbourne Cup ballot exemption a number of their rivals are eyeing off will be wasted.
Six of the 14 gallopers engaged in the 2011 Mackinnon Stakes field are currently under double-figure in the Luxbet markets including $9 chance Efficient.
One person firmly on the Efficient bandwagon, and saddle as it turns out, is race jockey Steven King.
King is chasing his second Mackinnon Stakes success having partnered 1991 winner Let’s Elope and is confident Efficient is the right horse to win on Saturday.
“He’s going well,” King said.
“It is his fourth run in and he gets back to Flemington.
“The big track is going to suit him.”
So can Efficient repeat their Derby Day success from five years ago? Or will they play second fiddle to their younger rivals for the fourth time since returning to the spotlight.
See below for the form facts and stats both for and against Efficient becoming the Mackinnon Stakes winner in 2011.
#1 Efficient – Horse Form
- Jockey: Steven King
- Trainer: Robert Hickmott
- Owners: Mr L J Williams, Mrs S J Williams, Mr L Williams, Mr G W Hunt, Mr MA Sellars, Mr A J Sellars
- Age: 8YO
- Gender: Gelding
- Breeding: by Zabeel (NZ) from Refused The Dance (NZ)
- Career: 23:7-0-0
- Prize Money: $4,663,525
- Track: 9-3-0-0
- Distance: 7-2-0-0
- Dead: 9-2-0-0
- Current Mackinnon Stakes Odds: – Bet now at Luxbet
Yes – Efficient Can Win the 2011 Mackinnon Stakes Because…
- Has improved around two lengths in each of their new season starts, meaning they are due to finish right up there with the likes of favourite Rekindled Interest ($4 Luxbet) who was only 2.5 lengths ahead of them in the Cox Plate last start
- Due to be ridden by Steven King who is one of only four former Mackinnon Stakes winning hoops engaged this year
- Over $4.6 million in prize money doesn’t come easy
- Flemington is their best track, have won three times from nine attempts here
- At this later stage of their career the 2000-metres suits, earlier longer would be better
- Come off the right race with the Cox Plate producing seven of the past 11 Mackinnon Stakes winners
- Also hold the advantage not having finished top three in the Cox, with So You Think the only one of these seven to have placed in the Cox and then won the Mackinnon; So You Think claimed the double
No – Efficient Cannot Win the 2011 Mackinnon Stakes Because…
- Drawn in the extreme outside gate 14 of 14, they have work to do from there and wide gates have never suited this horse; there last start from barrier 14 was their distant 13th in the 2009 Henry Bucks Straight Six
Note: If Efficient doesn’t win they won’t place. From their 23 career starts they have won seven times but never finished first or second.
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