Mackinnon Stakes Tips - Waller’s mare to continue Flemington form

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James McDonald riding Shillelagh winning the Empire Rose Stakes

I’m taking on the short-priced favourite in Saturday’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) with an in-form mare whose last start win was too impressive to ignore. 

Having tipped the Chris Waller-trained Shillelagh in the Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield two starts back, I was dirty with myself for not sticking with her last Saturday when she won the Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. 

And it’s Flemington that seems to be the key to the daughter of Savabeel as she has recorded two wins and a 2nd placing from four starts at the track – including two at Group 1 level. 

A beautiful ride by James McDonald saw her sneak up along the fence to claim victory, but it was her sectionals that indicate she’s the horse to hold out on Saturday.

They went nine lengths quicker than Ranier did in the Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) earlier in the day, and while Ranier was able to run his 600m, 400m and 200m sectionals in 34.03, 22.60 and 11.65 off a slow early tempo, Shillelagh came home in 32.98, 22.05 and 11.46 off the quicker speed.

Blair House who is the $2.20 favourite and must be respected on his 2nd placing behind Benbatl in the Caulfield Stakes (2000m), hasn’t been able to run within six lengths of those kind of sectionals over 1800m. 

Extra Brut backs up from a brutally run Derby and is rock-hard-fit, but even he can’t match that kind of finish over shorter trips.

The real query with Shillelagh is; can she run 2000m and still produce that kind of sprint? But being by High Chaparral and having three 1600m runs under her belt this campaign, the distance shouldn’t be an issue. 

With Trap For Fools in the race we are bound to see a genuine tempo, and that should play into Shillelagh’s hands as she settles to the rear without spending a penny in the run before launching late and using her brilliant turn of foot to overpower them. 

Latrobe is the unknown quantity in the race and brings strong European form, but his best form is over longer, and considering they wanted to target the Melbourne Cup with him, he might find some of these a bit sharp.

Blair House is clearly one of the hardest to beat, but if Shillelagh is within four lengths of him when they straighten, she can finish best again to claim her third Flemington Group 1. 

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Mackinnon Stakes Tips - Waller’s mare to continue Flemington form

I’m taking on the short-priced favourite in Saturday’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) with an in-form mare whose last start win was too impressive to ignore.

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