It is a tight affair in 2015 Mackinnon Stakes betting for one of the four Group 1 Victoria Derby Day features at Flemington on Saturday with half the field at single-figures to win.
Offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner, this year’s $1 million Group 1 Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) runs as Flemington Race 6 at 3:05pm (AEST) and attracted a final field of 15 weight-for-age hopefuls.
Seven of those are under $10 to win in the current Mackinnon Stakes odds at Ladbrokes.com.au who are running markets for Best Tote or SP + 20% on every single Derby Day race on Saturday.
Current clear favourite and early market mover at $5.50 for the win is the John O’Shea-trained Magic Hurricane drawn in barrier one, which last produced a winner 15 years ago with Oliver Twist (2000m) jumping from the inside alley.
Ruled out of a $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) run next Tuesday over the two miles, six-year-old Magic Hurricane makes his Victorian race debut in the Mackinnon and drops back from a mile and a half.
He has run second in one of his two previous 2000m wins when runner-up to Preferment, who is a 2015 Melbourne Cup hope for next Tuesday’s classic, in the Group 2 Hill Stakes (2000m) at Randwick on September 19.
His latest run was also at Randwick at the start of this month when beating home Beaten Up by a tidy two lengths in the Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m), the form of which the bookies are rating to stack up here with little work to be done from the gate.
At $7.50 and the second top fancy is Stratum Star out wide in barrier 14, which Grand Armee saluted form in 2004 for Gai Waterhouse.
Darren Weir prepares the in-form Stratum four-year-old who has won two of his past three starts including the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) in late September.
After a third in the Toorak Handicap over the mile at Caulfield behind stablemate Lucky Hussler, the nice stallion was last seen on October 17 winning the Group 3 Coogny Handicap (2000m) to give him a one-from-two record over the distance he runs over again on Saturday.
The $8 third pick is one of three in the mix for last Saturday’s Cox Plate winning trainer Chris Waller who enjoyed his first ‘Major’, Flamingo Star.
Jumping from barrier nine with Cox Plate winning hoop Hugh Bowman aboard, the Areion stallion was last seen running fifth to Lucky Hussler in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) on October 10.
No Mackinnon Stakes winner has come straight off a Toorak run without another start, but the bookies rate Flamingo Star a genuine hope to win at 2000m for the first time at a distance he’s had five runs for two seconds over previously.
Three runners are rated equal $9 on the fourth line of Mackinnon Stakes betting with the Paul Beshara-trained Happy Trails, Pornichet for Waterhouse who chases her fifth win in the classic and the other O’Shea-trained runner in the line-up Contributer – two of which come out of the Cox Plate from seven days earlier.
The Cox Plate has produced more Mackinnon Stakes winners than any other race including five of the past six, including Happy Trails who ran sixth in the lead-up 12 months ago.
This year the now eight-year-old was 10th to Winx in the record-breaking edition of the Moonee Valley showdown and attempts to go back-to-back in the Mackinnon Stakes for the first time in over 30 years.
Pornichet, winner of the Group 1 Doomben Cup over this distance in the winter, was a surprise fourth in the Cox Plate producing a gun run to cross nine lengths off Winx.
He is drawn well in barrier four for this weekend and veteran hoop Jim Cassidy has the ride looking for a second Mackinnon Stakes trophy to that which he won aboard The Phantom back in 1993.
Contributer meanwhile is a six-year-old son of High Chaparral who was last seen running fifth to subsequent Cox Plate runner-up Criterion in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) earlier in the month.
He has a gun 2000m record with five wins and a third from seven runs including the Group 1 Ranvet Stakes win in March at Rosehill that followed his other elite level success in Sydney’s Chipping Norton Stakes over the Warwick Farm mile.
Rounding out the single figure hopes at $9.50 is then Robert Hickmott’s Reset eight-year-old Fawkner who has a good record over 2000m (7-1-2-1) and is a six-time winner at Flemington, most recently winning September’s Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).
He comes off a sixth in the Cox Plate, the same position Happy Trails ran in the lead-up last year, but jockey Damien Oliver has the outside alley to overcome.
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