VRC Champions Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes)

The VRC Champions Stakes is a $3 million weight-for-age feature run at Flemington on the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival each November formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes.

2023 VRC Champions Stakes Results

  • 1st: #10 Atishu
  • 2nd: #9 Duais
  • 3rd: #3 Young Werther



The 2023 VRC Champions Stakes, formally known as the Mackinnon Stakes, is a weight-for-age classic run the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup each November.

In 2022 the race formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes was renamed the VRC Champions Stakes and the prize money boosted to $3 million.

Held on the new-look VRC Champions Stakes Day or ‘Family Day’ card at Flemington, the VRC Champions Stakes is the feature race on the final day of the four-day Melbourne Cup Carnival and shares the card with the Group 1 Champions Sprint (1200m) – formerly the VRC Sprint Classic – for spring sprinters. In 2022 the Cantala Stakes was renamed the Group 1 Champions Mile (1600m) and moved from the Derby Day card the Saturday prior to add further prestige to the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

The Mackinnon Stakes / VRC Champions Stakes is usually targeted by horses who have previously contested the Ladbrokes Cox Plate a fortnight before at The Valley. The Cox Plate – Mackinnon Stakes (Champions Stakes) double is a popular punt with So You Think (2010) the last to do the double.

Held at Flemington Racecourse on the first Saturday of November, the VRC Champions Stakes is a 2000m weight for age race.

The 2021 Mackinnon Stakes form was franked with the winner Zaaki, scratched from that year’s Cox Plate as the favourite on race morning, going on to win the following year’s $5 million The All-Star Mile in 2022.

Zaaki returned in 2022 off a lead-up fourth in the Cox Plate and became the latest back-to-back Mackinnon Stakes / Champions Stakes winner.

The 2023 Champions Stakes was won in an upset by the Chris Waller-trained mare Atishu on the quick back-up off a second on Derby Day in the Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m).

The 2023 VRC Champions Stakes ran on Saturday November 11, 2023 offering $3 million in prize money and was won in an explosive upset by Chris Waller’s impressive mare Atishu ($8.50) thanks to a perfectly-timed ride by the master James McDonald. 

VRC Champions Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes) 2023
Date: Saturday November 11, 2023
Track: Flemington Racecourse
Distance: 2000m
Race Type: Weight-For-Age
Status: Group 1
Prize Money: $3,000,000

2023 VRC Champions Stakes Results

  • 1st: #10 Atishu ($8.50)
  • 2nd: #9 Duais
  • 3rd: #3 Young Werther

The Chris Waller-trained Atishu ($8.50) improved on her lead-up second in the Empire Rose Stakes behind subsequent Champions Mile winner Pride Of Dubai, relishing the quick back-up and extra distance to power home late over a quality field to score an upset win in the 2023 Champions Stakes results.

Click here to read more on the big win by Atishu in the VRC Champions Stakes 2023 in the final Group 1 of the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

Stay tuned for the official 2023 Mackinnon Stakes results and finishing order, the $3 million showdown run as the VRC Champions Stakes.

2023 Champions Stakes Results & Finishing Order

Finish No. Horse Trainer Jockey Margin Bar. Weight Penalty Starting Price
1 10 ATISHU (NZ) Chris Waller James McDonald 5 57kg $8.50
2 9 DUAIS Edward Cummings Damien Oliver 1.75L 3 57kg $7
3 3 YOUNG WERTHER (NZ) Danny O’Brien Billy Egan 1.95L 6 59kg $51
4 1 ZAAKI (GB) Annabel Neasham Ms Jamie Kah 2.05L 10 59kg $4.40
5 7 BUCKAROO (GB) Joseph O’Brien Blake Shinn 2.15L 8 59kg $26
6 11 PROWESS (NZ) Roger James & Robert Wellwood Mark Zahra 2.65L 4 56.5kg $5.50
7 2 HUETOR (FR) Peter & Paul Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 2.85L 11 59kg $61
8 8 MONTEFILIA Chris Waller Michael Dee 3.25L 1 57kg $26
9 4 WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE) Simon & Ed Crisford Jamie Spencer 3.35L 2 59kg $2.80F
10 5 ZEYREK (FR) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Ben Melham 4.85L 7 59kg $61
11 6 PINSTRIPED Enver Jusufovic Ben Allen 5.35L 9 59kg $81

Table Credit: Racing Australia.

2023 VRC Champions Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes) Betting Odds

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST 2023 VRC CHAMPIONS STAKES ODDS (Final Field)

The 2023 VRC Champions Stakes odds on the event formerly known as the Mackinnon Stakes complete with links to the markets at Ladbrokes.com.au for you to lock in your 2023 VRC Champions Stakes betting tips in at the right price will be published closer to Melbourne Cup week 2023.

Check out our VRC Champions Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes) Betting page for more information on the bet types available and how to pick the VRC Champions Stakes results this Cup Carnival.

Arcadia Queen ($2.45 in 2020) followed by Zaaki ($2.25 in 2021) are the last Mackinnon Stakes favourites to salute for the punters.

Zaaki returned and also won the 2022 Champions Stakes at $8 odds.

2023 Champions Stakes Form Guide

CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL 2023 VRC CHAMPIONS STAKES FORM GUIDE

2023 Champions Stakes Tips

Stay tuned for our exclusive VRC Champions Stakes 2023 Tips on the $3 million feature race of Stakes Day at Flemington this spring!

  • To Win: #4 West Wind Blows ($2.50 at time of publish) – BET NOW

A stellar edition of the VRC Champions Stakes and have the Simon & Ed Crisford-trained international West Wind Blows on top. A former stablemate to this year’s Caulfield Cup – Melbourne Cup champion Without A Fight, this UK-based Teofilo five-year-old is third-up down under for the spring and well acclimatised now. He has an excellent record over the distance (7:3-2-2) and comes off back-to-back Group 1 seconds behind some very good horses in Australia. Fresh was second to last year’s Melbourne Cup champ Gold Trip in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at this track and distance. Rose to 2400m and was narrowly beaten by Without A Fight in the Caulfield Cup. That form was franked on Tuesday with Without A Fight blasting his rivals away with a stellar Melbourne Cup win by over two lengths. Think West Wind Blows can do the same back to 2000m and fit now. Jamie Spencer stays on, barrier two, just needs to prove he is a genuine WFA horse with the 59kg.

2023 VRC Champions Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes) Field

The Mackinnon Stakes field is now known as the VRC Champions Stakes field as of 2022 and attracts the best weight-for-age spring gallopers coming off a lead-up run in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) over the same distance and run under the same conditions two weeks earlier at Moonee Valley.

The Cox Plate produced ten winners from 2008 – 2023 most recently Zaaki (4th in 2022) for his second Mackinnon Stakes victory.

The official VRC Champions Stakes 2023 Final Field & Barriers are announced on the Wednesday of race week and will be available in full below once announced.

The 2023 VRC Champions Stakes final field features a cracking line-up of spring gallopers including UK raider West Wind Blows coming off a Caulfield Cup second behind subsequent Melbourne Cup winner Without A Fight, dual defending champion Zaaki after his third success as a nine-year-old now, and classy Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Prowess coming off a win in the Group 2 Crystal Mile at The Valley.

Click here to read more on the key runners in the Champions Stakes 2023 field and betting markets.

No Last 10 Horse Trainer Jockey Barrier Weight Probable Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 41x217x326 ZAAKI (GB) Annabel Neasham Ms Jamie Kah 10 59kg 116
2 0653216×06 HUETOR (FR) Peter & Paul Snowden Kerrin McEvoy 11 59kg 110
3 746×403116 YOUNG WERTHER (NZ) Danny O’Brien Billy Egan 6 59kg 106
4 13×3123222 WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE) Simon & Ed Crisford Jamie Spencer 2 59kg 110
5 1735×45401 ZEYREK (FR) Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes Ben Melham 7 59kg 108
6 34113×2150 PINSTRIPED Enver Jusufovic Ben Allen 9 59kg 107
7 216x143x27 BUCKAROO (GB) Joseph O’Brien Blake Shinn 8 59kg 107
8 5229×86310 MONTEFILIA Chris Waller Michael Dee 1 57kg 112
9 0x43x79334 DUAIS Edward Cummings Damien Oliver 3 57kg 112
10 x216Px5202 ATISHU (NZ) Chris Waller James McDonald 5 57kg 110
11 3311111×21 PROWESS (NZ) Roger James & Robert Wellwood Mark Zahra 4 56.5kg 110

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

2023 VRC Champions Stakes (Mackinnon Stakes) Nominations

Early nominations for the VRC Champions Stakes 2023 are taken on the Monday of race week – one day before the coveted Melbourne Cup Day card at Flemington.

The 2023 Champions Stakes nominations feature 21 hopefuls led in pre-field markets by the likes of Simon & Ed Crisford’s Caulfield Cup runner-up West Wind Blows, Edward Cummings’ multiple Group 1 winning mare Duais, evergreen nine-year-old Zaaki who is the dual defending champion, and star miler Mr Brightside coming off a devastatingly close Cox Plate second.

Last 10 Horse Sex Age Trainer Ballot Weight True Weight Penalty Hcp Rating
1 5211×11122 MR BRIGHTSIDE (NZ) G 6 Ben, Will & JD Hayes 1 59kg 118
2 x140x42113 ALLIGATOR BLOOD G 7 Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott 2 59kg 118
3 x3227x1317 FANGIRL M 5 Chris Waller 3 57kg 117
4 41x217x326 ZAAKI (GB) G 9 Annabel Neasham 4 59kg 116
5 5229×86310 MONTEFILIA M 6 Chris Waller 5 57kg 112
6 0x43x79334 DUAIS M 6 Edward Cummings 6 57kg 112
7 3311111×21 PROWESS (NZ) M 4 Roger James & Robert Wellwood 7 56.5kg 110
8 13×3123222 WEST WIND BLOWS (IRE) G 5 Simon & Ed Crisford 8 59kg 110
9 x216Px5202 ATISHU (NZ) M 6 Chris Waller 9 57kg 110
10 0653216×06 HUETOR (FR) G 7 Peter & Paul Snowden 10 59kg 110
11 241111×739 VICTORIA ROAD (IRE) H 4 Ciaron Maher & David Eustace 11 57.5kg 109
12 3950×61146 MUSTANG VALLEY (NZ) M 5 Andrew Forsman 12 57kg 108
13 1735×45401 ZEYREK (FR) G 7 Michael, Wayne & John Hawkes 13 59kg 108
14 x426256x94 NUMERIAN (IRE) G 8 Annabel Neasham 14 59kg 108
15 3x907x0090 EL BODEGON (IRE) G 5 Chris Waller 15 59kg 107
16 34113×2150 PINSTRIPED G 5 Enver Jusufovic 16 59kg 107
17 216x143x27 BUCKAROO (GB) H 5 Joseph O’Brien 17 59kg 107
18 746×403116 YOUNG WERTHER (NZ) G 6 Danny O’Brien 18 59kg 106
19 26844×4078 HINGED M 5 Chris Waller 19 57kg 105
20 362598×735 BANKERS CHOICE (NZ) G 6 Michael Moroney 20 59kg 103
21 05420×8070 HEZASHOCKA (NZ) G 6 Mick Price & Michael Kent (Jnr) 21 59kg 100

Table Credit: Racing Australia. 

Emirates Stakes / Mackinnon Stakes / VRC Champions Stakes History

First run in 1869, the first winner of the Mackinnon Stakes was the famous racehorse Glencoe. Named after former VRC chairman L.K.S. Mackinnon, the event has seen many winners go on to win the Melbourne Cup including At Talaq in 1986, Empire Rose in 1998, Let’s Elope in 1991 and Rogan Josh in 1999.

The triple win was claimed by Wakeful after winning the Mackinnon Stakes three years in a row in 1901 to 1903. However plenty of horses have managed to dually win the race including: Eurythmic in 1920-21; Phar Lap in 1930-31; Peter Pan in 1932, 1934; Beau Vite in 1940-41; Tranquil Star in 1944-45; Comic Court in 1949-50; Rising Fast in 1954-55; Belmura Lad in 1980-81; and Zaaki in 2021-22.

The Mackinnon Stakes was originally known as the Emirates Stakes prior to being renamed in 2016. In 2016 the former Mackinnon Stakes race was renamed the Emirates Stakes and moved from Derby Day to Mackinnon Stakes Day during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.

In 2022 the Mackinnon Stakes was renamed the Champions Stakes.

Emirates Stakes / Mackinnon Stakes / Champions Stakes Winners

Look through the winners of the Emirates Stakes / Mackinnon Stakes / Champions Stakes since 2000.

Year Place Horse Time
2023
Champions Stakes
1st Atishu 2 minutes 2.01 seconds
2nd Duais
3rd Young Werther
2022
Champions Stakes
1st Zaaki 2 minutes 2.00 seconds
2nd Mo’unga
3rd Hezashocka
2021
Mackinnon Stakes
1st Zaaki 2 minutes 2.94 seconds
2nd Cascadian
3rd Mo’unga
2020
Mackinnon Stakes
1st Arcadia Queen 2 minutes 3.53 seconds
2nd Fifty Stars
3rd Melody Belle
2019
Mackinnon Stakes
1st Magic Wand 2 minutes 1.82 seconds
2nd Melody Belle
3rd Hartnell
2018
Mackinnon Stakes
1st Trap For Fools 2 minutes 2.3 seconds
2nd Latrobe
3rd Extra Brut
2017
Emirates Stakes
1st Tosen Stardom 2 minutes 1.2 seconds
2nd Happy Clapper
3rd It’s Somewhat
2016
Emirates Stakes
1st Awesome Rock 2 minutes 2.4 seconds
2nd DH: Hauraki
2nd DH: Seaburge
2015
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Tarzino 2 minutes 3.5 seconds
2nd Rising Romance
3rd Contributer
2014
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Happy Trails 2 minutes 2.3 seconds
2nd He’s Your Man
3rd Farraaj
2013
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Side Glance 2 minutes 3.59 seconds
2nd Dear Demi
3rd Moriarty
2012
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Alcopop 2 minutes 1.26 seconds
2nd Glass Harmonium
3rd Ocean Park
2011
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Glass Harmonium 2 minutes 2.72 seconds
2nd Mourayan
3rd Rekindled Interest
2010
MacKinnon Stakes
1st So You Think 2 minutes 4.92 seconds
2nd Descarado
3rd Ginga Dude
2009
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Scenic Shot 2 minutes 3:46 seconds
2nd Miss Maren
3rd Viewed
2008
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Thesio 2 minutes 3.8 seconds
2nd Barbaricus
3rd Sirmione
2007
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Sirmione 2 minutes 2.3 seconds
2nd Princess Coup
3rd Zipping
2006
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Desert War 2 minutes 2.3 seconds
2nd Growl
3rd Aqua dAmore
2005
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Lad Of The Manor 2 minutes 1.7 seconds
2nd Our Smoking Joe
3rd Lachlan River
2004
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Grand Armee 2 minutes 0.9 seconds
2nd Confectioner
3rd Vouvray
2003
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Casual Pass 2 minutes 5.8 seconds
2nd Pentastic
3rd Fields Of Omagh
2002
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Lonhro 2 minutes 2.6 seconds
2nd Royal Code
3rd Distinctly Secret
2001
MacKinnon Stakes
1st La Bella Dama 2 minutes 1.5 seconds
2nd Hill Of Grace
3rd Emission
2000
MacKinnon Stakes
1st Oliver Twist 2 minutes 5.4 seconds
2nd Camarena
3rd Slavonic

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