The Mackinnon Stakes meeting will be held at Flemington on Saturday. The course proper was rated a Good 4 on Thursday and with light showers in Melbourne leading up to the weekend, Flemington will border on Good/Soft condition on race day.
Irish visitor True Self looks the horse to beat in the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Melbourne Race 4, 2600m). This mare has been racing very consistently in Ireland winning 8 races from 18 starts ranging from 2000m to 3250m. True Self put in an eye-catching effort last start in the Geelong Cup, finishing 2nd to Princes Of Arran, and that horse had franked the form by running a close 2nd in the Melbourne Cup. English champion jockey Ryan Moore will be on board and that’s a huge plus. Nicely drawn in barrier 5, Moore will settle mid-field and True Self will be flying home down the long Flemington straight.
Santa Ana Lane is ready for his defence in the Darley Sprint Classic down the Flemington straight six (Melbourne Race 5, 1200m). The reigning Sprint Classic winner has a terrific record over six furlong with 7 wins and 5 placings over the trip. The 7YO has a devastating sprint and he can turn defeat into victory in the blink of an eye. When 1st up two starts back, Santa Ana Lane finished 2nd to the great mare Sunlight over this track & trip and then he beat all but Yes Yes Yes in The Everest. Mark Zahra knows the horse well and will once again be aboard. Santa Ana Lane will settle in the second half in the field and he will overpower these lots in the run home.
The combination of Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore will come to the fore in the Mackinnon Stakes (Melbourne Race 8, 2000m). The O’Brien-trained Magic Wand will be backing up from Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup where she performed admirably finishing within 3.5 lengths from the winner, having to come from 4th last rounding for home. This 5YO mare has a good record over 2000m with 6 placings from 7 attempts at the trip. She finished 2nd over this trip three starts back in the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes to that great horse, Magical, before her 4th in the Cox Plate. This will be her third run in two weeks and she is rock hard fit. O’Brien is putting blinkers back on so I expect her to settle a bit closer and Magic Wand could be hard to catch.
By Owens Wong, Editor