Chris Waller has a star studded list of Victoria Derby Day entries including six for the Mackinnon Stakes but two of those in Junoob and Who Shot Thebarman could go straight into next Tuesday’s 2014 Melbourne Cup field.
One of two Flemington races on Saturday offering a ballot exemption into the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) field back at the track on November 4, the $1 million Group 1 Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) drew 24 nominations.
Six of those are from Waller’s four-time Sydney premiership winning stables including The Metropolitan winner Junoob and Auckland Cup champ over the two miles Who Shot Thebarman.
Waller however is still sorting out which of his six he will accept for in the Mackinnon Stakes field this weekend, the master horseman unsure whether Junoob and Who Shot Thebarman need the run before the ‘race that stops a nation’.
“They are unlikely to run in the Mackinnon at this stage but I’ll decide (before Wednesday),” he told The Daily Telegraph.
Haafhd seven-year-old Junoob backed up from his Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) win in Sydney on October 18 when a credible seventh behind Japan’s Admire Rakti in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m).
Who Shot Thebarman meanwhile won two on the trot at Flemington earlier in the season but was disappointing from a wide barrier 13 (of 18) draw when 13th in the Caulfield Cup four lengths off the winner.
Junoob is a $15 chance in the all-in Mackinnon Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au being kept safe in betting while after the Caulfield Cup failure Kiwi expat Who Shot Thebarman is a $31 outsider.
In the Melbourne Cup markets both pay $21 behind Caulfield Cup champ Admire Rakti ($4.80).
As for Waller’s other Mackinnon Stakes chances on Saturday, the shortest priced in the latest markets is He’s Your Man paying $6.50.
It’s a wide open Mackinnon Stakes affair this year with the David Payne-trained Sebring four-year-old Criterion, on the seven day back-up after a close seventh just 1.45 lengths off Adelaide in last weekend’s $3 million Group 1 WS Cox Plate (2040m), the narrow $6 favourite.
Four follow on $6.50 then including with Happy Trails, Rising Romance, Side Glance and He’s Your Man.
Imported Cape Cross six-year-old He’s Your Man has won three of his past four starts in Sydney including the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) last start on October 4 and also has a credible Flemington track record (2-0-1-1).
The next best fancied of Waller’s Mackinnon Stakes chances are then eye-catching Cox Plate fifth placed veteran Foreteller ($15), eighth in the Caulfield Cup last time out Hawkspur ($17) and recent Craven Plate winner Moriarty ($19).
The 2014 Mackinnon Stakes field is due for release on Wednesday morning so stay tuned to see who is in and who is out of the weight-for-age clash.
Before then there’s still a day to jump on the generous futures prices on the Derby Day Group 1s open now at Ladbrokes where your winnings will be available to you in CASH thanks to the exclusive Ladbrokes Card!