One-time Mackinnon Stakes 2015 betting favourite Magic Hurricane is the second horse to come out of the line-up for the Derby Day clash offering a Melbourne Cup ballot exemption to the winner at Flemington Racecourse this weekend.
Robert Hickmott’s veteran galloper Fawkner was the first scratching from the $1 million Group 1 Longines Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) after drawing out wide in barrier 15 of 15 for Race 6 on Victoria Derby Day.
Team Williams instead will save the Reset eight-year-old for a Sandown run in the $300,000 Group 2 Zipping Classic (2400m) on Sandown Guineas Day, November 14.
The second withdrawn hope from the Mackinnon Stakes field, which is now down to just 13 stayers, is the John O’Shea-trained Sydney raider Magic Hurricane.
Drawn the rails with Caulfield Cup winning hoop Opie Bosson down to ride, the last start Group 1 The Metropolitan (2400m) winner was second favourite in Mackinnon Stakes betting through Ladbrokes.com.au, who are offering Best Tote or SP + 20% on the full Flemington line-up this Derby Day.
He was surpassed in the Mackinnon Stakes odds by the Darren Weir-trained Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes winner Stratum Star, jumping from barrier 13 now with Craig Williams in the saddle on the back of the Reset four-year-old’s last start Group 3 Caulfield win over 2000m a fortnight ago.
Magic Hurricane has been sent straight to the paddock for a spell after producing poor blood test results late on Friday afternoon.
He is set for an autumn return where he could target the Group 1 Australian Cup (2000m) at Flemington during the Melbourne Festival of Racing.
The latest Mackinnon Stakes markets have Stratum Star at $5.50 for the win, Williams after his second winning ride in three years after guiding 5/1 hope Alcopop to victory in 2012.
Joining Startum Star under double figures to take out the Mackinnon Stakes this year are the likes of the defending champion Happy Trails ($6) with Dwayne Dunn aboard in barrier six, the John O’Shea-trained Contributer ($7) who has a gun record over the 2000m and the Chris Waller-trained Flamingo Star ($7.50).
Despite a ballot exemption for the $6.2 million Group 1 Emirates Melbourne Cup (3200m) back at Flemington three days later on the first Tuesday of November being up for grabs in the Mackinnon, none of the hopes are still in the mix for the ‘race that stops a nation.’
The last chance to sneak into the capacity 24-starter Melbourne Cup field, released live from Flemington Racecourse after the Derby Day racing action this afternoon, lies in Flemington Race 5 today – the $300,000 Group 3 Lexus Stakes (2500m).
The Lexus Stakes runners looking for the ballot exemption and their current positions on the Melbourne Cup order of entry are Thunder Lady (28th), Gai Waterhouse’s Excess Knowledge (30th), stablemate Bohemian Lily (31st), Chance To Dance (32nd), Havana Cooler (33rd), Ruling Dynasty (34th), the Saeed Bin Suroor-trained Elhaame (=35th), Ethiopia (=35th), High Midnight (=35th) and Zanteca (=35th).
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