Thu, Nov 8, 12:42pm by Staff Writer
The final day of the Flemington carnival is on Saturday where two Group 1 races, the Mackinnon Stakes and the VRC Sprint, highlight the nine-race card.
The G1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) sees a field of ten line up, with Blair House ($2.25) favourite for the race. Trained by newly crowned Melbourne Cup-winning trainer Charlie Appleby, Blair House is having his third start in Australia, most recently going down in a photo-finish to Benbatl in the G1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m).
Darren Weir won this race last year with Tosen Stardom and this year he backs up G1 Victoria Derby (2500m) winner, Extra Brut ($7.50). The three-year-old colt has won four of his six starts – most recently last week’s Derby – and he’s also two for two at the track.
Shillelagh ($7) is also backing up from last week, and also off a G1 win. Her two wins at Flemington have both been at G1 level and both over the mile.
La Trobe ($5.50) bypassed the Melbourne Cup after connections decided to run here as a preference, the four-year-old trained and owned by the connections of the 2017 Cup winner.
Doubt Defying ($23) is in a rich vein of form, wining the Listed Sale Cup (1600m) last start, with five wins coming from his last six starts and eight from 17 overall.
Trap for Fools ($12) was good when second to Ventura Storm in the G2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) last start. Prized Icon ($17) and It’s Somewhat ($19) are racing well without winning.
A field of 14 will tackle the G1 VRC Sprint (1200m) down the famous Flemington straight with Redzel ($4.80) looking to make it back-to-back wins in the race and he’s off a last start Everest win, like he was last year.
Pierata ($5) is chasing an elusive G1 that would certainly do his stallion prospects no harm, and he too is off a last start win in the G3 Sydney Stakes (1200m) on Everest day.
Kementari ($7) began his campaign when second to Pierata and while he hasn’t won at all this prep, he’s run well and gone close twice in G1 grade most recently in the G1 Manikato (1200m) when making good ground late on a track that seemed to favour leaders.
Brave Smash ($14) was the winner of the Manikato and he lines up here as well, as does the runner-up Spirit of Valor ($10) who again is one of four runners for Aidan O’Brien – all four coming out of the Manikato.
Santa Ana Lane ($9.50) was one of the favourites leading into The Everest but he finished midfield on the heavy track, alongside In Her Time ($11) who makes her Flemington debut here.
Redkirk Warrior ($12) is off a failed overseas trip but he’s a G1 winner over this track and distance and has a real liking for Flemington with three from four over the track and distance, and four from five here at the track.
Jungle Cat ($11) was a G1 Rupert Clarke (1400m) winner when making his Aussie debut, and he drops back from the G1 Toorak (1600m) where he finished at the tail of the field.
Spright ($35) is racing well this prep. Both her runs have been at Moonee Valley so she may enjoy the wider spaces of Flemington while Invincible Star ($26) has had a strange prep, racing well but not winning – the last time she was here she got nailed by Merchant Navy right on the line in the G1 Coolmore Stud (1200m).
Suggested Bet: A great day of racing to wrap up the Flemington carnival and while there’s good value to be found during the day, happy to stick with the Charlie Appleby and Blair House ($2.25, race 8, number 3). Appleby’s strike rate this racing calendar year is around 28% across the globe and his record in Australia is pretty handy too winning ten of his 29 starts.
Blair House is off a photo-finish second to Benbatl who was a clear second to Winx in the G1 Cox Plate (2040m) so although he’s short, that’s the best form going around. La Trobe is the query runner, Shillelagh is flying and loves Flemington but at WFA, Blair House can round out a cracking week for Charlie Appleby and Godolphin.
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