With several runners looking for some consolation here after competing in last week’s Cox Plate among them, last year’s winner of this race Side Glance ($9), coupled with some international horses that we’ll see race for the first time in Australia, the 2014 renewal of the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes is set to be a very competitive one. Chris Waller’s quartet of runners is headed by Epsom winner He’s Your Man who at $5.00, is the race favourite in early markets just in advance of Rising Romance ($5.50). The Kiwi mare will be hoping to emulate 2012 Mackinnon winner Alcopop who also ran second in the Caulfield Cup at his lead-up run. Along with Side Glance, the only other runner under double figure odds in early markets is Happy Trail ($9.00)
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1. SIDE GLANCE – C Williams (7) – SCRATCHED
8yo European galloper who enjoys his racing in Australian judging by the results of his starts here to date. He won this race last year at his second local start and has returned this year with two stellar efforts in the G1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m), where first up off seven week break he led throughout and ran third (2 lengths) to Fawkner, before running fourth (0.5 length) in last week’s Cox Plate. Jock just let the leaders get away from him down the side last week before closing strongly late. Flemington suits, will roll forward and should be in this for a long way.
2. HAPPY TRAILS – D Oliver (13)
He was on the quick back-up when left a bit flat-footed in the G1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) two starts back, running fifth (2.8 lengths) to Fawkner. Lined up then for his third consecutive year in the Cox Plate and for the second year in a row, finished strongly and within a length of the winner when sixth (0.7 lengths). Although he hasn’t won, his previous efforts when backing up have been good enough to say he’ll run well here but the draw does him no favours.
3. FORETELLER – G Boss (10)
Another who comes out of last week’s Cox Plate and with a hard luck story to tell. He was warming into the race nicely as they turned and looking to save ground closer to the fence before but didn’t have much luck finding a clear path in the run to the line. He finished fifth (0.6 lengths) from the winner with connections left to wonder what may have been. His last visit to this track and distance resulted in him running a close third (0.7 lengths) to Fiorente in the Australian Cup earlier this year. Going just as well if not better this time in and will be finishing hard.
4. HAWKSPUR – T Angland (8)
After producing good runs in Sydney, including a victory in the G2 Chelmsford Stakes, the 5yo stallion cam to Victoria and was only average in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), finishing 5.5 lengths behind Lucia Valentina before lining up for another tilt at the Caulfield Cup. He settled close to speed in the Cup and battled on well to run eighth (2.5 lengths) behind Admire Ratki. The return to 2000m will be more suitable but in the twelve Group 1 races he has contested since winning the Qld Derby, he has recorded one placing.
5. MORIARTY – J Cassidy (3)
Had to dig very deep late to defeat Rising Romance in the G3 Craven Plate (2000m) two runs back before lining up in the Caulfield Cup. He made the corner awkwardly in the Cup and suffered a few bumps which put him off balance and out of contention, exaggerating his finishing position of fourteenth. Has had a few dips at Group 1 races in the past but always found a few better than him with his best result from seven attempts at the elite level, actually coming in his race last year when third to Side Glance. Better race this year though and others hold stronger credentials.
6. BRAMBLES – L Nolen (9)
Peter Moody has done a great job with this horse after such a lengthy time on the sidelines. The 6yo ran third (0.6 lengths) behind Lucia Valentina in the G1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) two starts back before as first emergency, gaining a start in this year’s Caulfield Cup much to the delight of his supporters who gave him a big chance. The son of Savabeel didn’t let them down, running a fantastic race to finish fourth (1.1 lengths) behind Admire Ratki after taking up a forward position in the run. Does rise 5.5kgs on that run under the WFA conditions of this race, which he compete under for only the second time in his career but is simply going to well to leave out.
7. MOURINHO – C Newitt (11)
Connections were left disappointed after he was omitted from this year’s Cox Plate field given he had performed well at each of his previous starts this campaign. He ran second and then third to The Cleaner in the G2 Dato Tan and G3 JRA Cup respectively before deservedly taking out the Cranbourne Cup from More Than Sacred after leading throughout. Don’t know if he would’ve been among the group of horses that crossed the line together in the Cox Plate last week in a solidly run 2000m under WFA conditions, and meets the same conditions and horses here.
8. HE’S YOUR MAN – J Moreira (5)
It didn’t take long for Chris Waller to find the right key with this former import who has won three of his last four starts including, at his most recent outing, the G1 Epsom Handicap (1600m). The 6yo by Cape Cross had plenty of work to do in the Epsom after getting into some bother early, but finished strongly from worse than midfield to nail Royal Descent right on the line. Drawn beautifully in gate five but Goes up 6.5kgs on that run and takes a good horse to step up from the Epsom and win this race – Desert War (ran second in the Epsom) and Theseo (claim the double) two cases in point – but this bloke just might be that.
9. FARRAAJ – A Atzeni (15)
European galloper who has won six of his fifteen starts including two from five races this year – both over this distance. The 6yo hasn’t raced since running fourth as the 5/4 favourite in a G3 event over 1800m back in August. He has taken up a forward positions in recent runs and will probably need to spend a bit of petrol if he is to look for a similar spot from the wide gate here, and could not think that that wouldn’t leave him vulnerable late against top opposition.
10. STAR ROLLING – S Baster (6)
Kicked off this campaign with a win in the G2 P B Lawrence Stakes (1400m) but in three subsequent runs, the form of the 5yo Casino Prince gelding has fallen away considerably. He ran eighth in the Underwood Stakes (1800m) behind Foreteller and at his first go the Sydney way, was home only fairly in the Epsom Handicap from the tail of the field when tenth (4.7 lengths) behind He’s Your Man. Will push forward but needs to make significant improvement.
11. SPILLWAY – K McEvoy (14)
Backed up a slashing first up effort in the G3 P B Lawrence with another in the G1 Makybe Diva Stakes that saw the former imported galloper finish fourth (1.7 lengths) behind Dissident and Fawkner. That effort saw him start the 7/4 favourite for the G3 Naturalism Stakes but punters were left pulling their hair out as he run into nothing but dead-ends in the straight, crossing the line in seventh spot behind Gris Caro. Started favourite again in the G1 Metropolitan when taken to Sydney for his most recent start but again left the punters down, running ninth (seven lengths) behind Junoob after getting his chance in the run. Better horse than that run suggests and the return to 2000m is a plus however, still yet to prove himself this grade.
12. AMRALAH – C Schofield (4)
Interesting runner for the team Williams camp who will be looking for a change of fortune after running close seconds in the Cox Plate and Bendigo Cup the past week. He won his last two starts, both over similar distances to this race, by leading and has drawn well here to take up a similar position in the least. Was fairly dominate win last start at G3 level, defeating his six competitors by 1.3 lengths and he’s sure to have his share of admirer here.
13. CRITERION – C Brown (1)
Chased home Junoob, who had set a farcical pace, in the Hill Stakes (2000m) before flashing home from worse than midfield to run a head second to Fawkner in the G1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m). That effort and the promise of a solidly run Cox Plate, saw him start one of the leading chance in last week’s feature. He followed Adelaide home form the 600m and was still taking ground off him when crossing the line in sixth spot (1.5 lengths). Going well but will need a touch of luck from the inside draw which isn’t ideal.
14. COSTUME – B Shinn (2)
New Zealand galloper who comes to Australia for the first time after having won the G1 Ormond Memorial Stakes (2040m) a month ago. That was the 5yo mare’s sixth career win and second at Group 1 level. Hasn’t come up against the top kiwi mares like Lucia Valentina and Rising Romance in the past but would’ve thought if she was of their level, the trip across the Tasman would’ve been made well before now.
15. RISING ROMANCE – J McDonald (12)
Got one of the sweetest runs you’d ever hope to see in the G1 Caulfield Cup last start, where from three back on the fence, she didn’t leave the paint as she shot to a two length lead in the straight and looked to have the race parcelled up. Until of course, Admire Ratki flashed home to better her by a long neck. That run, although agonising for supporters, continues her very good form this time in and that will continue here. Just needs an ounce of luck from a wider draw but good horses like her tend to make their own.
Good pace here with a few of the internationals looking to roll forward. Amralah and from wider Farraaj will push forward and be joined by Star Rolling and Side Glance who from inside draws, will be keen to hold a position. Think Side Glance can go back-to-back here with a run just off that speed. Jock wasn’t quick enough to react for mine in the Cox Plate last week and here at up Flemington’s long straight, he’ll get plenty of time to wind up. He’s Your Man could not be in better shape to contest his first WFA and the barrier draw is the cherry on top.
- HE’S YOUR MAN
- RISING ROMANCE
- HAPPY TRAILS