John O’Shea’s in-form The Metropolitan winner Magic Hurricane has come up trumps with the inside alley as he shoots for successive Group 1 wins this weekend in Melbourne’s Mackinnon Stakes 2015 at Flemington Racecourse.
One of four elite level races on the Victoria Derby Day program, all nine races on the card available at Best Tote or SP + 20% only at Ladbrokes.com.au on Saturday to kick off the Melbourne Cup Carnival, this year’s $1 million Group 1 Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) features 15 final acceptors.
Set to run as Flemington Race 6 at 3:05pm (AEST) one race before the three-year-olds face off in the $1.5 million Victoria Derby, the Mackinnon Stakes is also one of two races on the card offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption for the two mile classic held three days later.
O’Shea’s Hurricane Run gelding Magic Hurricane dropped out of contention for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) at second acceptance stage on Monday, but is still set to make his Melbourne debut on the weekend in the Mackinnon.
Last time out at Randwick on October 3 he defeated Chris Waller’s 2013 Doomben Cup winner Beaten Up in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) over the mile and a half, a distance he drops back from this weekend from barrier one with Caulfield Cup winning jockey Opie Bosson booked for the ride.
History is against Magic Hurricane however as the last Mackinnon Stakes winner to have a final Group lead-up outside of Melbourne was Desert War (2006) who came off an Epsom Handicap second nine years ago.
Barrier one meanwhile hasn’t produced a Mackinnon Stakes winner since Oliver Twist back in 2000.
Beaten Up is the most notable non-acceptor for the Mackinnon Stakes, but his Cox Plate winning trainer Chris Waller still has three runners in the race.
Waller will saddle-up Weary (barrier 13), Index Linked (barrier 11) and Flamingo Star (barrier nine) who has Cox Plate winning jockey Hugh Bowman aboard.
Along with Magic Hurricane the only other last start winner in the Mackinnon Stakes field this year is the Darren Weir-trained Stratum Star who has a wide barrier 14 of 15 draw for jockey Craig Williams to overcome.
Williams won the Mackinnon two years ago aboard Alcopop, while the last winner to come off a lead-up victory was So You Think who completed the Cox Plate – Mackinnon Stakes double.
Stratum Star has won two of his past three starts with success in the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) before a third in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) and then another turf triumph on October 17 in the Group 3 Coogny Handicap (2000m) on Caulfield Cup Day.
The Cox Plate is by far the most successful lead-up race into the Mackinnon Stakes producing six of the past 10 winners of the latter including Happy Trails who came off a sixth in Australasia’s weight-for-age championship before his victory 12 months ago.
Paul Beshara’s now eight-year-old Good Journey gelding Happy Trails is back to defend his Mackinnon Stakes title this weekend and comes via the Cox Plate once again.
Last year he was sixth to Adelaide in the Cox Plate before Damien Oliver guided him to a Mackinnon in from barrier 12 of 14.
This spring the veteran was 10th to runaway winner Winx and has Dwayne Dunn in the saddle for his seven day back-up into the Mackinnon jumping from barrier six.
Barrier six last produced a winner in 2009 with Scenic Shot who the last back-to-back Mackinnon Stakes winner was Belmura Lad (1980-81).
Also coming out of the Cox Plate this year are the likes of the Gai Waterhouse’s French import Pornichet (4th), the Robert Hickmott-trained triple Group 1 winner Fawkner (6th) and international raider Gailo Chop (8th).
Along with fourth past the post in the Cox Plate and a Group 1 winner over the 2000m in the winter Pornichet, Waterhouse will chase her fifth Mackinnon Stakes trophy with Epsom Handicap runner-up Ecuador.
Waterhouse’s previous Mackinnon Stakes winners are: All Our Mob (2006), Grand Armee (2004), Desert War (2006) and most recently Theseo (2008).
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2015 Mackinnon Stakes Final Field & Barrier Draw
Flemington Race 6 (3:05pm) – 31/10/2015
|#||Form (Last 10)||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Br.||Weight||Hcp. Rating|
|1||x2120x1266||FAWKNER||Robert Hickmott||Damien Oliver||15||59kg||115|
|2||307×605020||HAPPY TRAILS||Paul Beshara||Dwayne Dunn||6||59kg||112|
|3||7228×25459||EXTRA ZERO||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Michael Walker||10||59kg||103|
|4||1511×26384||PORNICHET (FR)||Gai Waterhouse||Jim Cassidy||4||59kg||112|
|5||18x111x565||CONTRIBUTER (IRE)||John O’Shea||James McDonald||7||59kg||112|
|6||0082×24900||WEARY (FR)||Chris Waller||Glyn Schofield||13||59kg||107|
|7||1x41x28x18||GAILO CHOP (FR)||Antoine de Watrigant||Ben Melham||5||59kg||111|
|8||1105216×53||INDEX LINKED (GB)||Chris Waller||Blake Shinn||11||59kg||104|
|9||955×143121||MAGIC HURRICANE (IRE)||John O’Shea||Opie Bosson||1||59kg||106|
|10||4x2614x242||ECUADOR (NZ)||Gai Waterhouse||Tommy Berry||3||59kg||105|
|11||9424x1255x||MAGIC ARTIST (IRE)||Andreas Wohler||Brenton Avdulla||2||59kg||103|
|12||11x82x0945||FLAMINGO STAR (GER)||Chris Waller||Hugh Bowman||9||59kg||102|
|13||2332×73131||STRATUM STAR||Darren Weir||Craig Williams||14||58kg||110|
|14||6x122x6200||RISING ROMANCE (NZ)||David Hayes & Tom Dabernig||Damian Lane||12||57kg||109|
|15||1x230x2530||SET SQUARE||Ciaron Maher||Luke Currie||8||56kg||105|