Mackinnon Stakes Tips - Analysing the recent trends

  • Cox Plate form has proved to be superior over the years
So You Think

The Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) shapes as one of the highlights of the final day of the Melbourne Cup Carnival and was formerly run on Derby Day, until a switch of date in 2016.  

The 2000m weight-for-age race has been won by some guns in the past including gallopers that are coming off Cox Plate (2040m) campaigns in So You Think (2010), Grand Armee (2004) and Lonhro (2002). 

It was traditionally used as a final lead up to the Melbourne Cup (3200m) but with the changing landscape of that race in recent times, as well as the date change, it is now purely a battle of the best middle-distance gallopers.  

If we look at the results of the race since 2000 as a guide, there are a few pointers to consider when trying to find a winner. 

Of the past 19 winners, 12 have come out of the Cox Plate (2040m) with ten of those 12 saluting after missing out on winning Australia's weight-for-age championship. 

This year, there are five runners out of the field of 18 that come out of the Cox Plate. They are Magic Wand (4th), Kings Will Dream (6th), Harlem (8th), Cape Of Good Hope (10th) and Kluger (13th).

Favourite in the race is the Kiwi mare, Melody Belle, who has been installed at the odds of $3.90 after her slashing win in the Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) on Derby Day. Since the change of dates in 2016, Tosen Stardom has been able to win the Mackinnon after a run on Derby Day, placing 8th in the Kennedy Cantala (1600m). 

The second favourite is Magic Wand, who has since raced in the Melbourne Cup (3200m) following her 4th in the Cox Plate. She is at $6.50. Interestingly, the past two favourites in this race were imports in Blair House and Folkswood. Both finished out of the placings. 

Others in contention this year are Hartnell at $10, Kings Will Dream at $11, Fifty Stars at $14 and Humidor at $17. 

The varied formlines, along with the recent change in date, makes it a bit of a tricky one to assess this year, however, the weight-for-age form of the Cox Plate is appealing. 

For those looking towards a roughie, there have been plenty of surprise results since 2000. Last year, Trap For Fools won as a $26 chance, while Sirmione won at $61 in 2007. La Bella Dama scored at $31 in 2001. Awesome Rock was a $17 chance in 2016. The average price of the winning horses has been a healthy $12. 

Four favourites have won the race since 2000 including So You Think, Desert War, Lad Of The Manor and Lonhro. Gailo Chop, scored as an $8 fancy in 2015. 

The most successful age group in the Emirates Stakes since 2000 have been the six-year-olds with five winners, while four horses aged five have won and four horses aged four have won. Three of the past four winners have been aged five. 

The 2000m start at Flemington has enabled horses to win from a variety of barriers but horses drawing within the first half of the field have had a slight edge. 

11 of the 19 winners have drawn in the first half of the field. This year,  Nights Watch, Cape Of Good Hope, Harlem, Life Less Ordinary and Aristia occupy the first five barriers in the 10 horse field. 

The most successful trainers since 2000 have been Gai Waterhouse with three winners, while Bart Cummings won the race twice in that time. Waterhouse is without a runner, while Cummings' grandson, James, has Hartnell. 

Of the jockeys, Damien Oliver has tasted success in the race on three occasions since 2000, while Greg Childs and Shane Scriven have two winners apiece. Oliver is on Nights Watch this year. 

Selections based on trends:

I am a fan of Melody Belle but favourites have a moderate record in this race and on trends, it may pay to go with one that raced in the Cox Plate. Of those, Kings Will Dream ticks the most boxes. 

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