2020 MacKinnon Stakes Preview

Speed MAP

From the inside barrier Harlem should push forward and looks the likely leader. Dalasan will go forward and the Gai Waterhouse trained ‘Shout the Bar’ likely to roll forward from barrier 9 and sit outside the speed. The two mares Arcadia Queen and Melody Belle jump from barrier 5 and 6 and will likely run together just beyond midfield. Mugatoo might not have the early speed to gain a position from the widest barrier and could take a sit with Fifty Stars.

1. Harlem

Ran well last start in group 3 company carrying 60.5kg, he was ridden quietly and albeit a lower grade he looked back to his best and his figures mirrored those thoughts. He ran terrific and was just defeated by non-conformist who had the easier run of the two. There was a margin back to third, but if he can run to that level again, he will be competitive in this field.

2. Fifty Stars

When I’m looking at fifty stars performance this prep, it almost mirrors exactly what he did his first 3 runs last prep, consistently building to figures which are competitive at the top level, his career peak performance came third up at Flemington over 2000m in March. His fitness now built up, look for him to be attacking them late.

3. Mr Quickie

Two starts ago at Caulfield he was magnificent, running behind the leader he ran super and clocked a career best rating and huge spike when compared against previous performances. He is a bit of an inconsistent performer and I think a few of the others will have the wood on him.

4. Mirage Dancer

I think she would need more than the 2000 meters on offer here. A winner of the Metrop at Randwick two starts ago beating Mugatoo (who ran into second). There is no doubt she has class, but to match with some of these over 2000m she will need to be at her very very best. Previously she’s only shown that level at 2400m and beyond, back to WFA also against him here.

5.Mugatoo

He has been supreme this preparation, doing everything that has been asked of him. There will be no doubting his fitness, being 6th up and his 4th start this prep at 2000m plus. He strung together 3 wins on the trot to kick off his prep before running second in Metrop and a very very good 5th in the Cox plate when wide throughout. I was waiting for him to fade but he was solid to the line and amongst elite company, it certainly had plenty of merit. He’s a horse that just shows great will to fight, and I love that.

6.Skyward

Initially traveled over from Europe to the Busuttin Young Stable as a Cups focused horse, I haven’t seen enough to have him in the mix. His overseas performances have been adequate but they don’t look to be up to middle distance group ones here in Australia. He has had one start in Australia in the Geelong Cup finishing a tiring 5th.

7. Dalasan

He’s likely lost a few of his earlier fans, to start this prep he was beaten at $3.20 and then $1.40 in South Australia. His runs since arriving in Victoria though have been very solid and a luckless trip in the Caulfield Cup seems to be a forgive, he’s another coming from a handicap back to WFA and that will be against him here.

8. Melody Belle

The kiwi star! What a marvel she is, written off by a few after running first up and second up in Sydney with runs below the public’s expectations. We have always known she’s a horse better 3rd/4th up and over a longer trip. I certainly had her still on the improve and thought she could have been competitive in some of the better races in the Australian Spring. That wasn’t to be and she went home and wow, that’s the Valarie we all know and love. By my figures her last run is actually a career peak performance equal to her performance in last years MacKinnon where she was a mile back and charged to the line. She’ also talked about as a wet track performer, where as I see her more so as a horse who can perform well on any surface, I don’t see the Good4 track as completely against her and if she can run as I anticipate she will be fighting out yet another group one finish.

9.Arcadia Queen

First the kiwi queen and now the Queen of WA. Two starts back she produced most excellent figures, and absolutely smashing Russian Camelot over 2000m. Her run in the Cox plate had plenty of merit as she almost fell when clipping heels at the 1000m. In her career to date she has some elite, world class figures. If she can run up to her performance two starts back she will win this race with ease, and there is no reason to expect anything different. She’s obviously bounced back from her tough cox plate run or else she’s be on a plane back to WA. Whilst the Wizard (Willy Pike) has flown back she will be piloted by Luke Curry and the big Flemington track should give her plenty of space to pick a gap and power past this field.

10. Shout the Bar

The Gai Waterhouse trained 4yo mare has been building nicely this prep and was rewarded with a win in the Group One Empire Rose (the race Melody Belle won last year) and as they say when they take that path, “She’ll now have to take on the boys”…. But it’s the girls to be worried again here in Arcadia Queen and Melody Belle. She carries the light weight and with the right run in transit she could be in the mix again.

Conclusion.

Arcadia Queen looks a very strong favourite and market has supported her early, $4 into $3 from her opening quote earlier in the week.

The Dangers do look to be Melody Belle and Mugatoo as the market has found. The two rough chances look to be Harlem who has a Flemington Group One over 2000m to his name and Fifty Stars who is ready to peak.

Suggested bets. Arcadia Queen Win (Over $3)

Exacta: 1st Arcadia Queen, 2nd Melody Belle/Mugatoo

Boxed Trifecta. 1,2,5,8,9