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The final feature race of the Spring Carnival is here as the 2021 Mackinnon Stakes is set to run at 5:10pm this Saturday. 10 horses are set to face the starter, with four backing up from impressive performances over 1600m last Saturday. At the time of writing, on Oaks Day, the Flemington track has improved to a Soft 5, but with impressive drainage and minimal rain forecast for the rest of today and Friday, the day will likely see the track start in the good range. However, there is 5-10mm of rain forecast for Saturday afternoon, so see what time that comes and how it impacts the track!
James McDonald is set to ride Zaaki once again in the Mackinnon Stakes, where they’ll start from gate 8.
— bet365 AUS (@bet365_aus) November 3, 2021
Looking at the market, Dabble has Zaaki as a clear favourite, priced at $2.40. Given he was a short-priced favourite for the Cox Plate, before being scratched due to a high temperature, the market has gravitated towards him. Colette is on the next line of betting at $4.80 following her very impressive win in the Empire Rose Stakes last Saturday while Mo’unga ($8) is the only other runner priced in single figures.
However, it isn’t just limited to those three. There are plenty of chances in the race and we have dissected each of their chances! Read on below to find out runner by runner preview of the 2021 Mackinnon Stakes along with The Shark’s Mackinnon Stakes best tips.
1. Homesman (1) – $26
Jockey – Jye McNeil
Trainer – Anthony & Sam Freedman
While he may have finished 10 lengths off the pace in the Caulfield Cup, Homesman will be much better suited dropping back to 2000m. Three of his seven career wins have been at the distance, including the Australia Cup at Flemington during the Autumn. The query is he met Zaaki in the Caulfield Stakes and still finished after him despite the favourite having an off day.
2. Cascadian (2) – $12
Jockey – Brett Prebble
Trainer – James Cummings
Cascadian looked the winner of last week’s Cantala Stakes until Superstorm came out of nowhere to steal it from him. He has placed in all three runs at Flemington but is being tested at 2000m for the first time in his career. He will appreciate any give in the turf but will likely be out-classed over this distance.
3. Superstorm (10) – $13
Jockey – Luke Curry
Trainer – Danny O’Brien
Superstorm has now won a Group Two and a Group One this preparation, capped off with his impressive win in last Saturday’s Cantala. He now steps up to 2000m against Zaaki, who finished 3.8L off over 1800m in the Underwood. He also loses the services of Damien Oliver, who is suspended here, but clearly has an affinity with Flemington, with a win and a second from three tries. He will be coming for them late, it is just whether he can have the same explosive turn of foot over 2000m.
— 10 Sport (@10SportAU) October 30, 2021
4. Zaaki (8) – $2.40
Jockey – James McDonald
Trainer – Annabel Neasham
He gets JMac back on board and they may not finish in the same postcode as him here. The Flemington 2000m could almost bring out the best in Zaaki, which is a scary thought considering we have seen some absolutely incredible performances from the seven-year-old gelding in Australia. With McDonald on board, Zaaki is 4/4 with a minimum margin of victory of 1.5 lengths and a maximum of seven, indicating the sort of connection the two have.
5. Keiai Nautique (6) – $41
Jockey – Craig Newitt
Trainer – Matthew Smith
Matthew Smith will be hoping Keiai Nautique puts in the performance of his career. The Japanese import was left out by Cox Plate selectors, much to the disbelief of Smith, but now he gets his opportunity to prove them wrong. He does have an exceptional turn of foot and you assume that there will be some pace in the race, but is he really that good?
6. Dalasan (3) – $41
Jockey – Craig Williams
Trainer – Leon Macdonald & Anthony Gluyas
Dalasan has had an exceptional preparation but was gapped in the Cox Plate, with Mo’unga finishing over four lengths ahead of him at The Valley. Will he be able to make up the difference in the Mackinnon Stakes, especially when he hasn’t placed in two Flemington runs?
7. Mo’unga (5) – $8
Jockey – Hugh Bowman
Trainer – Annabel Neasham
If you like looking at form and results out of races to indicate future success, surely Mo’unga has to be a serious chance here. In the Cox Plate, this four-year-old finished just three lengths off Verry Elleegant, and we all saw what she did on Tuesday. He has won over 2000m before and Hugh Bowman comes back down to ride him for this, both of which are big positives.
8. Private Eye (9) – $11
Jockey – Nash Rawiller
Trainer – Joe Pride
After initial reports said that Private Eye was off to the paddock, Joe Pride has kept him on for one more crack, and why wouldn’t you with $2M on offer. His come from the back win in the Epsom was outstanding, running past Mo’unga in that race, but is another stepping up to 2000m for the first time, and he is coming up from 1500m. He will be coming for them late, but he may be out of tickets over this trip.
9. Colette (4) – $4.80
Jockey – Damian Lane
Trainer – James Cummings
After an interrupted preparation, Colette finally gets her crack at Zaaki in a WFA 2000m race. She was targeting the Cox Plate but took her set-back and said thanks for coming, winning the G2 Tristarc Stakes and G1 Empire Rose in her last two runs. She will be hoping the rain comes but her win on a Good 4 last week removed any queries there. Godolphin will have her wound up perfectly for this and the fan-favourite is looking hard to ignore.
— SKY Racing (@SkyRacingAU) October 30, 2021
10. Hungry Heart (7) – $10
Jockey – Kerrin McEvoy
Trainer – Chris Waller
While she finished 3rd on Saturday, Hungry Heart showed that she is a class animal and will relish the rise up to 2000m here. Unlike the two Godolphin runners, this mare will be hoping the track firms up nicely, allowing her to put her best foot forward. She just may be a bit outclassed against some of these, especially the favourite.
You can look at this one any way you want, ultimately Zaaki comes out on top. He was a sub-$3 favourite for the Cox Plate for a reason, and this is a step down in comparison to that field. Not only does the camp have him back on top of his game, he joins back up with James McDonald, who has an incredible connection with the horse but also with Flemington, given the amount of winners he has had this week.
Colette is clearly a main danger and she can never be doubted, especially after last week’s performance. However, Zaaki is in a league of his own, when given a good steer. If you have a Rocket Boost available on Dabble, we’d recommend using it to get Zaaki’s odds even bigger than what the other bookies are offering, and we are more than happy to take that here.
Best Mackinnon Stakes Tip: Zaaki – Win ($2.40)
If you need more news, information and predictions, head over to our Mackinnon Stakes page for all your punting needs!
*Odds correct at time of publication, courtesy of Dabble.