The Mackinnon Stakes meeting will be held at Flemington this Saturday. The course proper was rated a Soft 5 on Thursday and with mainly fine weather in Melbourne leading up to the weekend, Flemington is likely to be racing on a Good track on raceday.
Team Maher-trained Yulong January has been in terrific form and he is the horse to beat in the Watch Racing.com Springtime Stakes (Melbourne Race 3, 1400m). The 3YO has won his first three career starts before finishing 2nd in the Gothic Stakes last start, leading all the way until he was nailed by Ranier in the last 20m. He will be suited to stay at 1400m and he can handle any track conditions. From barrier 3, Regan Bayliss will go forward and share the lead with Sunset Watch and Yulong January will be hard to catch.
French import Gallic Chieftain can break through for a Group 3 victory for the Weir stable in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Melbourne Race 5, 2600m). The 6YO has been racing consistently this preparation without winning. He ran a brilliant 4th to Melbourne Cup favourite Yucatan in the Herbert Power before a workman like 8th in the Caulfield Cup. And last Saturday, he finished 4th to the English horse A Prince Of Arran who franked the form on Tuesday with a mighty 3rd in the Melbourne Cup. The 2600m will suit and he can handle any track conditions. Jockey of the moment John Allen who won the Victoria Derby last Saturday will be on board Gallic Chieftain on Saturday. From the rail’s draw (gate 1), Allen will settle mid-field along the fence and put the stallion to sleep. With the long Flemington straight, Gallic Chieftain will finish over the top of this field.
After taking out the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday, Godolphin can continue their winning run by claiming the Mackinnon Stakes on Saturday with Blair House (Melbourne Race 8, 2000m). The 6YO won the Group 1 Jebel Hatta (1800m) at Dubai earlier this year before his failure in the Dubai World Cup Turf after drawing a wide barrier. First up in Australia, he finished a commendable 4th in the Underwood Stakes before his nose 2nd to Benbatl who has in turn beating everything except Winx in the Cox Plate. And the Winx form is the best form around. From barrier 2, English jockey William Buick will stalk the pace and the class of Blair House will shine through in the Mackinnon Stakes.
By Owens Wong, Editor