G1 Mackinnon Stakes day is the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, which also sees the running of the G1 Darley Sprint Classic!
The track is currently a Good 4 but there is rain predicted fror Saturday so it will be important to monitor track conditions. The rail moves out another 3m to the 9m position.
Another huge nine-race card awaits us and we've gone through every race below!
Best Bet: Race 4 - (5) True Self
Best Value Bet: Race 9 - (6) Moor Wanted
This race sets the tone for the day because it's highly competitive and hard to work out. (4) Reserve Street goes on top for me. I was keen to back him on Thursday but the stable scratched him to save him for this. He's run in the top three in all six starts this preparation, he's drawn barrier 1 for a soft run and Ryan Moore takes the ride. Expecting him to go close again. (10) Plot The Course could be a blowout result to start the day at $26. He's third up into this and he tends to go very well third up, with six starts for two wins and three 2nd placings. He goes well on wet ground, four of his five wins have been at this distance and although he's got a poor record at Flemington, he's worth including. (6) Good 'N' Fast is also worth throwing in at double figure odds. He finished off very well behind Savaheat last start at Moe and we saw that form hold up in Race 1 on Thursday, where Savaheat won again. Good 'N' Fast and Savaheat were the only two horses in the race at Moe to break 12 seconds for the final 200m and Good 'N' Fast's 11.68sec split was the second fastest all day. Notably, Craig Williams jumps off (1) Mandela Effect to ride (9) Hunamosa for Greg Eurell. We saw Williams ride a winner for Eurell on Thursday and he's won two of his three rides for the trainer this season.
Another tricky one. (8) Starcaster was beaten 5L on his Australian debut first up but I think he can bounce back here. He pulled up with thumps on that occasion so there was a little excuse, and the step up to 2000m will suit him much better given his two career wins have been over 2000m and 2400m. (7) Grinzinger Star comes into this third up from a spell for in-form combination Damien Oliver and Danny O'Brien. He's another that will reslish 2000m and he's drawn ideally. (2) Wetakemanhattan is undefeated from two starts this preparation but my little query with him is the wet ground, given he failed on his only start on soft ground.
(3) Knickpoint looks the top seed for Godolphin and looks the one to beat here on the back of a dominant first up win at Newcastle, which kept his unbeaten start to his career intact. He beat stablemate Palurien at Newcastle and Palurien then came out and won his next start in Sydney after being very well backed. Craig Williams is the most in-form jockey at the carnival so far and he's booked to ride, so he ticks plenty of boxes. (6) Banquo is another Dany O'Brien horse with Damien Oliver in the saddle. He's returned in good order this campaign with a first up 2nd followed by a win last start. (7) Floreat Pica is worth including at big odds. He's around $26 but he's been good in two starts this time in, including a win over subsequent winner Call Me Shamus last start. (9) Sophia's Choice is two from two this preparation and the race she won last start has already produced two subsequent winners so the form is stacking up. (11) Regimental Band had no luck in Sydney last start and hsi first up win was over Akari, who was a winner during the carnival earlier this week.
(5) True Self is the best bet on the card here and potentially the bet of the carnival. She was a luckless 2nd in the Geelong Cup behind Prince Of Arran, who has since come out and run 2nd in the Melbourne Cup. As alluded to earlier in the week, this year's Geelong Cup was the fastest of the past 15 years and the form is clearly strong. She's had five starts whe second up from a break and has never finished out of the top two. There is plenty of rain forecast and she's won six of her nine starts on soft ground. Ryan Moore takes over from John Allen in the saddle, she draws barrier 1 and looks incredibly hard to beat.
The first Group 1 of the day and there's only two chances I'm particularly interested in. (1) Santa Ana Lane looks quite clearly the one to beat. He's had two runs back from a spell and has run 2nd on both occasions, beaten half-a-length first up by Sunlight before beeing beaten half-a-length again by Yes Yes Yes in The Everest. He comes into this third up from a spell after running 2nd in The Everest last time out. He was a touch unlucky on that occasion after being held up early in the straight. He won the TJ Smith by 3.5L on soft ground last preparation so I don't expect the wet ground to pose many problems. He's got a good third up record and should be hard to hold out. (9) Loving Gaby provides a bit of X-factor in the race and she's really the only one I'm worried about. I'm happy to take $7.00 about her and that looks value. She was a last-start winner of the G1 Manikato Stakes at Moonee Valley. She carries 51.5kg once again and I think she's about the only one that could trouble the favourite.
Another very open race with several winning chances. (7) Rondinella looks to be crying out for 2000m now after her two runs at the mile. She looked to be struggling last start but picked up again in the straight to be beaten just a length on the line, indicating she is looking for more ground. She draws well in barrier 2 and should be very competitive. (1) Spanish Reef carries top weight but she's struck form. She beat Rondinella two runs back before finishing 3rd in the G1 Empire Rose Stakes last weekend. She steps up to 2000m now and although she hasn't won over the distance from six attempts, now might be the time to try again. She's got a fantastic record at Flemington with four wins and two placings from seven starts so I would be including her again at double figure odds. (13) Girl Tuesday is very well suited here. She was beaten just over a length in 4th at Moonee Valley last start but she was hitting the line very well and she's much better suited on a big track like Flemington, where she can wind up. (14) Oceanex continues to run well this preparation without winning. Has won her only start at this track and distance and can go well again, while (5) Aliferous raced well here Tuesday and can't be discounted.
(6) Iconoclasm might be able to win again here after saluting at Moonee Valley last start. He defeated (2) Widgee Turf on that occasion and gets a 2kg weight swing in his favour when they meet again today. He's won two from three at the track and distance, draws well in barrier 5 and the only little query might be if the track gets wet because he's yet to win on anything other than a good track. (3) Admiral's Joker has won his past four starts now and has been nominated for harder races this week, but hasn't gained a run. The drop back from 1600m to 1400m is a little query but he gets Craig Williams sticking with him and it's hard to knock his form at the minute. (10) Reykjavik will be tuned up for this I think. He was given a hit out fresh from a nine-week break last start and will be much better second up at 1400m here. He was a Listed winner over the mile here at Flemington during the winter so don't dismiss him. (11) Ken's Dream is an enormous price at $61. He was beaten 6L first up at Moonee Valley but he wasn't given any chance at all, held up the entire straight. He's got a good second up record, a good record on wet ground and has won here twice before. It's a very open race but he's a ridiculous price.
Another hugely open race. Quite often the Cox Plate can produce the winners of this race and I think (8) Kings Will Dream can continue that trend. He ran well for 6th in the Cox Plate but was ultimately outclassed. Prior to that he was a Group 1 winner here in the Turnbull Stakes. Overall, he's got three wins and two placings from six starts at Flemington and any rain shouldn't worry him. He draws a bit awkwardly but JMac takes the ride and he could be a bit of value at double figure odds. (3) Humidor might be ready to break through for another win. He was unsuited at Moonee Valley last start but he's worked to the line well in his past two runs. He's got a great record at this distance and goes well on rain-affected ground so he gets conditions to suit. Damian Lane jumps back aboard. (11) Fifty Stars ran 2nd in the Kennedy Cantala Stakes last weekend and that's another good form reference for this race. He's another with a good record here at Flemington and he's a swimmer so will appreciate the rain. (15) Melody Belle won her 10th Group 1 in impressive style last weekend, when launching from the back of the field to win the Empire Rose Stakes. She loves the wet so the wetter the better for her. She takes on the boys here and you have to go back a fair way to find the last female winner of this race, but not many mares that have lined up over the years have been 10-time Group 1 winners coming off a G1 win the weekend prior. She's undefeated at the distance and has to be a huge chance despite the wide draw. (16) Aristia ran 2nd to Melody Belle last weekend and is suited by the rise in trip. She's a blowout chance.
A headache to finish off the day and the quaddie, but there's a horse I'm keen to throw in at any old price and that's (6) Moor Wanted at $31. I can't quite believe we're getting $8.50 for him to place. He's got a good first up record with two wins and a 2nd from five starts, in fact those two wins and a 2nd have been in his past three first up runs. He's run top two in three of his four starts at the track, he ran 2nd to Parsifal at his only start over the track and distance, he goes better on wet ground than he does on good ground, and he gets Damian Lane booked to ride. Lane has had three rides for trainer Peter Chow this season for two 2nd places and he's finished in the top two in eight of his 17 rides overall for him, so when he's booked it's generally for a reason. I think he can run enormous here. (16) Screenager is undefeated from two career starts. Her win last start was very good for a filly having just her second start. Whether she's mature enough yet is the query but $7.00 isn't a bad price. (7) Morrissy and (12) Tahitian Dancer are others to be wary of.
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