The countdown to the Sydney Spring Racing...
Scratched Cox Plate favourite Zaaki gets the chance at a consolation prize on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival with the Annabel Neasham-trained import heading Flemington’s 2021 Mackinnon Stakes field and betting markets.
The final elite level of the carnival, Saturday’s Group 1 $2 million Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) features a top-class field of 10 gallopers and it is Zaaki tipped to win from gate eight.
Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup winning jockey James McDonald could be in for another big day riding the favourites in both Group 1s on the card in the saddle of Nature Strip in the Darley Classic and Zaaki in the Mackinnon Stakes.
Zaaki, along with the eventually beaten short-priced Melbourne Cup favourite Incentivise who crossed four lengths behind Waller’s champion mare Verry Elleegant in the ‘race that stops a nation’, has been one of the spruik horses of the season.
He won a string of races and was excellent second up taking out the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) by two lengths before things began to unravel.
Racing flat he finished third in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) in a shock loss behind Probabeel, but was tipped to atone heading markets for the Group 1 Cox Plate (2040m) on October 23.
The seven-year-old was sensationally scratched from the Australasian weight-for-age championship the morning of however due to an elevated temperature.
Neasham quickly put plans in place to scheduled the Mackinnon as a new Grand Final aim for the galloper and the bookies have him as the $2.45 favourite through Ladbrokes.com.au to return to winning form off the setback.
The stable is also represented in this year’s Mackinnon Stakes field by early market mover Mo’unga ($8) who looks a genuine chance to upset his better fancied stablemate.
Winner over the distance in Sydney’s Group 1 Rosehill Guineas (2000m) as a three-year-old, Mo’unga has some very nice form lines from his solid spring campaign.
The now four-year-old son of Savabeel, to be ridden from gate five by Hugh Bowman, defeated Verry Elleegant fresh in the Group 1 Winx Stakes (1400m).
He was narrowly beaten when second to Incentivise next-up in the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, before returning to Sydney when fifth only one and a half lengths off the better-weighted Private Eye in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m).
Mo’unga lost few admirers in the Cox Plate at The Valley then when fourth behind State Of Rest, a race that Verry Elleegant ran third in before her powerhouse Cup victory.
The other single-figure fancy for the Mackinnon this year is the Godolphin-raced Colette ($4.80) chasing her third win on the trot.
She was too good in the Group 2 Tristarc Stakes and franked that form on Derby Day taking out he Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) against her fellow mares.
On the quick back-up she is fit and in a very good vein of form looking to do the Group 1 mile double on back-to-back Saturdays at HQ.
Also coming off a Group 1 mile win from Derby Day is the Danny O’Brien-trained Superstorm who narrowly denied The Invitation winner Icebath victory in the Kennedy Cantala.
Superstorm won from barrier 12 of 14 with Damien Oliver aboard and lines-up from the outside barrier (10) this weekend with Luke Currie coming aboard the $13 shot.
Three-time Kennedy Cantala placegetter Cascadian ($12) is also on the seven-day back-up off his brave third, Brett Prebble to ride the James Cummings-trained galloper from barrier two.
2021 Mackinnon Stakes Field & Barriers
|No||Last 10||Horse||Trainer||Jockey||Barrier||Weight||Penalty||Hcp Rating|
|1||31x932x240||HOMESMAN (USA)||Anthony & Sam Freedman||Jye McNeil||1||59kg||110|
|2||3413×54543||CASCADIAN (GB)||James Cummings||Brett Prebble||2||59kg||111|
|3||0736×41331||SUPERSTORM||Danny O’Brien||Luke Currie||10||59kg||112|
|4||x6D111x113||ZAAKI (GB)||Annabel Neasham||James McDonald||8||59kg||118|
|5||54x300x474||KEIAI NAUTIQUE (JPN)||Matthew Smith||Craig Newitt||6||59kg||106|
|6||x0733x0836||DALASAN||Leon Macdonald & Andrew Gluyas||Craig Williams||3||59kg||108|
|7||32107×1254||MO’UNGA (NZ)||Annabel Neasham||Hugh Bowman||5||58.5kg||112|
|8||x821x17418||PRIVATE EYE||Joseph Pride||Nash Rawiller||9||58.5kg||108|
|9||12454×6511||COLETTE||James Cummings||Damian Lane||4||57kg||112|
|10||78111×8483||HUNGRY HEART||Chris Waller||Kerrin McEvoy||7||56.5kg||107|
Table Credit: Racing Australia.
Racing fields and data are copyright 2011-2021 © Racing Australia Pty Ltd (RA) (and other parties working with it).
Racing materials, including fields, form and results, is subject to copyright which is owned by RA and other parties working with it. Full copyright notice.