After earlier announcing Mourayan would not run on Victoria Derby Day and instead go straight in next week’s Melbourne Cup, owners Lloyd and Nick Williams have decided to start the stayer in Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes 2013 field.
Scratched from today’s Bendigo Cup where they would have carried the 61.5kg top-weight, Alhaarth stallion Mourayan is also heading the field and weights for the $1 million Group 1 Longines MacKinnon Stakes (2000m).
Set to run as Flemington Race 5 at 2:15pm (AEST), the 2013 Mackinnon Stakes is one of two Derby Day races offering the winner a ballot exemption for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) next Tuesday.
Mourayan, last seen running eighth to stablemate Seville in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) in Sydney on October 5, however doesn’t need it currently sitting 20th on the Melbourne Cup order of entry.
They are only rated an $81 Melbourne Cup roughie however.
Williams and trainer Robert Hickmott opted not to accept for Sea Moon, a $13 Melbourne Cup chance, in the Mackinnon Stakes field however with the galloper to go straight to the Cup.
Other notable Mackinnon Stakes non-acceptors included Williams’ Caulfield Cup winner Fawkner, last start Cox Plate runner-up Happy Trails and the Chris Waller-trained Kelinni.
The only one of those three still running on Saturday is last year’s Melbourne Cup fourth placed Kelinni who runs in the other Melbourne Cup ballot exempt offering race, the $300,000 Group 1 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
Waller will still have representation in the Mackinnon saddling up Moriarty in gate nine with Craig Williams to ride.
Paying $31 in the latest Melbourne Cup markets, Waller’s Hill Stakes winner is out to improve on a Caulfield Cup 10th where they got a poor run from barrier 15.
One Mackinnon Stakes hope that desperately needs to win to make the 24-starter Melbourne Cup field currently sitting 30th on the order of entry meanwhile is the David Hayes-trained Jet Away.
The imported Cape Cross seven-year-old last ran a good fourth in the Caulfield Cup prompting the bookies to install them as a $17 chance in their Melbourne Cup odds despite them needing to win the Mackinnon to make the cut.
They jump from the inside alley on Saturday in their bid to do so ridden by triple Melbourne Cup winning jockey Glen Boss.
Another horse out for the Melbourne Cup ballot exemption is then 2012 Railway Stakes winning Perth raider Mr Moet (24th) who may not accept for the ‘race that stops a nation’ instead going home to defend their Railway title on November 23.
Over the years 16 horses have completed the MacKinnon Stakes – Melbourne Cup double, most recently the Bart Cummings-trained Rogan Josh back in 1999.
There are three last start winners in the Mackinnon Stakes field meanwhile with the Mick Price-trained German import Pakal coming off a victory in the Cranbourne Cup, Peter Gelagotis’ Cox Plate Day winning four-year-old Hvasstan and Brisbane raider Solzhenitsyn in gate two for Robert Heathcote.
Solzhentisyn steps up in distance here after a great start to the spring, the St Petersburg seven-year-old last seen beating home French galloper Trevieres to win the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 12.
Heathcote remains confident his horse will make the 2000m, as is their jockey Nash Rawiller.
“Both Nash and myself are confident he will see it out,” Heathcote told AAP.
“It’s one of the strongest fields in years – chockful of quality horses.”
Rounding out this year’s Mackinnon Stakes field are then Andrew Balding’s British raider Side Glance who ran sixth in the Cox Plate for their Aussie debut and Clarry Conners’ in-form mare Dear Demi coming off a Caulfield Cup third.
See below for the full Mackinnon Stakes 2013 field, barriers and jockeys with betting to open online at Ladbrokes.com.au shortly.
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2013 Mackinnon Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 5 – 2:15pm (AEST) – 02/11/2013
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Wgt.||Hcp. Rating|
|1||74x8841x78||MOURAYAN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Steven Arnold||4||59kg||110|
|2||12326×9846||MR MOET||Adam Durrant||Damien Oliver||5||59kg||108|
|3||26x44x73x6||SIDE GLANCE (GB)||Andrew Balding||Jamie Spencer||6||59kg||110|
|4||x30715x231||SOLZHENITSYN (NZ)||Robert Heathcote||Nash Rawiller||2||59kg||114|
|5||5141×04150||MORIARTY (IRE)||Chris Waller||Craig Newitt||9||59kg||107|
|6||1342x11x74||JET AWAY (GB)||David Hayes||Glen Boss||1||59kg||107|
|7||677x5x1341||PAKAL (GER)||Mick Price||Hugh Bowman||3||59kg||106|
|8||4D760x4961||HVASSTAN||Peter Gelagotis||Brett Prebble||7||58.5kg||97|
|9||52167×7383||DEAR DEMI||Clarry Conners||Chris Munce||8||56.5kg||108|