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2020 Mackinnon Stakes Runner-by-Runner Preview

The final Group 1 of the Flemington carnival is the Mackinnon Stakes and Trent Crebbin has broken down the chances of each runner below!

2020 Mackinnon Stakes Runner-by-Runner Preview

The final Group 1 of the Flemington carnival is the Mackinnon Stakes, with a field of 10 runners assembled to tackle the 2000m.

Trent Crebbin has broken down the chances of each runner, as well as providing his speed map, selections and betting strategy for the race below!

Speed Map

Shout The Bar should come across and lead the field from barrier 10, on the quick back up from the Empire Rose. Harlem was ridden much colder from an inside barrier last start but has been right on pace in the Turnbull and Makybe Diva. Dalasan probably lobs just outside the lead from Skyward, who can be right there and perhaps even vying for the lead if Boss wants to. Mirage Dancer and Arcadia Queen settle midfield- I think Currie will want to keep Arcadia Queen off the rails from barrier 5. Melody Belle lobs midfield from Mr Quickie, Fifty Stars and Mugatoo who is probably forced to be ridden cold from the outside barrier.

Runner-by-Runner Analysis

1. Harlem

He’s been going okay this time in as a 9yo, with credible finishes in the Makybe Diva and Turnbull. He was ridden cold last start with 61kg in the Coongy and ran very well for 2nd behind Nonconformist. Drawn barrier 1 here he probably settles just behind the speed, but I think he’s a few lengths off these and despite an affiliation with the track and distance, I can’t see him winning here.

2. Fifty Stars

He’s been absolutely set to peak for this race here 4th up, on the quick backup from the Cantala Stakes over 1600m. With top weight of 58kg he ran very well there, coming home in the 3rd fastest last 600/400m. We saw a similar scenario in the Autumn where he backed up off a win in the Blamey Stakes straight up to 2000m at this T/D in the Australian Cup and beat Regal Power. All three runs this prep have been solid with big weights and unlike a few of the horses in this race, this has been his target for the spring. He might’ve preferred a touch more rain, but his record on good tracks is still solid, and he will get a fair way back from barrier 8 but I’ve no doubt he’ll be coming home strongly. At $10 I think he’s a big chance and a horse you need on side.

3. Mr Quickie

He carried the same weight as Fifty Stars last start in the Cantala but was disappointing when finishing 13th. His win prior in the Toorak was outstanding but he did get every favour that day. The stable came out and said he seems to do his best racing fresh, yet here they are on the quick backup at 2000m. Whilst his form at 2000m is solid, I think these days his best set up is a fast run 1600m when kept fresh, and off his last start run he’s hard to have. I can’t see why he’s only a couple of dollars longer than Fifty Stars off last start and am happy to oppose.

4. Mirage Dancer

Shock winner of the Metropolitan over Mugatoo two starts back when getting a dream run courtesy of Nash Rawiller. He then went to the Caulfield Cup and was beaten out of sight. He drops back to 2000m here where he’s never won from 4 attempts, and off his SP and weight/margin in the Metropolitan, I’m confident Mugatoo is quite a few lengths better than him. A return to a good surface will help but he’s not up to these.

5. Mugatoo

Huge run in the Cox Plate off a wide run, laying out around the turn and fighting on well for 4th. That was on a borderline heavy track, and his record on rain affected ground does read very well with 5 wins from 9 starts. The Cox Plate was also a very strongly run race, and he (as well as the winner Sir Dragonet) had a lot of form beyond 2000m, meaning they were perhaps slightly advantaged given their greater stamina. He started $26 in the Cox Plate compared to Arcadia Queen’s $7, so the market clearly rates her a better horse. He does get Bowman on who is riding very well, but he probably has to go back from barrier 9 and I think Arcadia Queen will be ahead of him in the run. On a good track in a slower run race, I think the advantage swings back in her favour. Can win, but I’ll be taking on.

6. Skyward

Strange placement for this international galloper coming out of the Geelong Cup. He ran okay there for 5th but the drop back in trip doesn’t look to suit. All his form overseas is over 2400m, and his Geelong Cup run certainly suggested he’s more of a stayer than a middle distance horse. He can race right on speed, and it wouldn’t shock me to see Boss be quite aggressive and even try to hold the front, making it a true test. That’s probably his best hope, but the Queen Elizabeth did look the better option for this horse.

7. Dalasan

Been racing well without winning. His two runs in the Makybe Diva and Turnbull were both solid in bunched finishes, but he did have every chance in both. He was a touch plain in the Caulfield Cup when beaten 5 lengths with 52.5kg on his back. He goes back up to WFA here and it does seem that he’s a few lengths off WFA group 1 company. Jamie Kah takes the ride from barrier 2, so he should get every chance either sitting outside the lead or leader’s back, but he’s been up a while, coming back from 2400m, and more importantly he probably isn’t quite good enough.

8. Melody Belle

After two very disappointing starts in Sydney to kick off the prep, it looked as if her career might be at a cross-roads and the stable brought her back to New Zealand. That seems to have done the trick, because she’s won two group ones from two starts in the mean-time and comes back over to Flemington. She’s got a great record here, with a win and a 2nd from two starts, including a huge run from too far back in this race last year. I think she strikes a slightly tougher field this year, and the prep doesn’t fill me with confidence. It seems like a bit of a throw at the stumps after she performed well back home, in let’s face it, weaker group 1 company. Her win last start in the Livamol Classic was dominant, but that was on her preferred wet ground, and we’ll likely be on a good 3 come race 8. She’s a very classy mare on her day, but I’m risking at the price.

9. Arcadia Queen

Here she is, Arcadia Queen. I’m confident she can add another group 1 to her tally and finish the carnival on a high. She was explosive winning the Caulfield Stakes over Russian Camelot two back, where she sat back off a slow tempo, with the bar plates off first time, and went past him like he was glued to the ground. He came out and ran a huge 3rd in the Cox Plate, where Arcadia Queen had a torrid time. I’m certain she wasn’t comfortable on the wet ground (which was close to a heavy 8), and to add insult to injury, she clipped heels midway through the race and nearly fell. She picked herself up and still had the audacity to power home in the 3rd fastest last 600/400/200m of the race behind Sir Dragonet and Armory. She gets back onto a firm deck here which is a huge positive, she likely strikes a less brutal 2000m, and she draws well in barrier 5. They wouldn’t be running her if she wasn’t 100% right after the prep she’s had, and this looks an ideal set up for her to record her 2nd Melbourne group 1. Luke Currie takes the ride as Pike has headed back to WA and Lane is suspended, but if he can keep her out of trouble, ideally one off the fence in run, she’s going to be very hard to beat.

10. Shout The Bar

Shock winner of the Empire Rose last start at huge odds. She got the absolute perfect run there sitting in the 1-1, but I expect her to find the front here as she often did in her 3yo days. The step up to 2000m suits on the quick backup, which will give her some admirers, but this is a huge step up in class. Arcadia Queen or Melody Belle would’ve bolted in with an Empire Rose this year if they were sent there, and I can see her getting the pinch late. I’d be very shocked if she won and would need a few of these to be below their best to run top 3.


I simply have to be with Arcadia Queen here. She’s the best horse in the race, she gets back on to a dry track, and she was enormous in the Cox Plate after nearly falling halfway through. Ideally Currie sits her midfield one off the fence, keeps it simple and lets her show her turn of foot, which no horse in this field can match at its best. Trusting the stable wouldn’t run her here if she wasn’t 100%, and all things being equal she’ll win. Mugatoo is an obvious danger off a great Cox Plate run, but I think Arcadia Queen has his measure on dry ground and in a slower run race. Melody Belle is tough to line up, but her best would be right in the finish. If it were wet, she’d be hard to beat and despite her Melbourne record I’ll be taking her on. Fifty Stars is the value in my opinion. Unlike a few, he’s been set for this race and he loves racing on the quick back up. Main bet Arcadia Queen and something on Fifty Stars.

Top Pick: (9) Arcadia Queen $3.20 Sportsbetting

Danger: (2) Fifty Stars $10 TAB

Betting Strategy

4 units WIN Arcadia Queen, 1 unit WIN Fifty Stars

Trent’s interest in the thoroughbred started out as a spark with Black Caviar, became a flame with Winx, and has now intensified into a burning obsession with Arcadia Queen. He started out throwing loose change on random trifectas at the pub, but it wasn’t long before he was watching replays and looking at sectionals, weights and markets. Trent specializes in Victorian racing and hopes his first winner as an owner is just around the corner.

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