The Valley Racecourse will play host to 2017 McKenzie Stakes Day on Saturday; the premiere race card in Melbourne this weekend.
Two Listed races highlight the strong nine-race card on McKenzie Stakes Day and we have analysed every horse confirmed to start in every race, in order to help you find a winner.
The McKenzie Stakes Day action will officially begin with the running of the McMahon’s Dairy Handicap (2500m) at 12:25pm, while the feature race is slated to be run and won at 4:05pm.
Race 1 (12:25pm) McMahon’s Dairy Handicap (2500m)
Ten stayers will step out in Race 1 at The Valley on Saturday and there is a case to be made for close to every runner. Yogi (barrier 9) has found strong and consistent form this time and should find an ideal position in transit from a wide draw, while Master Zephyr (barrier 5) carries winning form into the race and could receive the run of the field from his central draw. Super Haze (barrier 7) failed to fire last time out, but has posted several impressive results this time and is not without a hope at odds, while Charlevoix (barrier 4) has either won or gone close in each of his starts this campaign and has the notable advantage of Craig Williams in the saddle. German import Swacadelic (barrier 3) has yet to show much this time, but will relish the 2500m of this race and is not without an each-way chance at big odds.
Tip: No. 2 Master Zephyr ($3.60)
Race 2 (1:00pm) Dr Sheahan Plate (1200m)
An impressive field of mares has been confirmed for Race 2 on McKenzie Stakes Day, including Merriest (barrier 11). The Denman mare has not been seen at the races since finishing fourth in the Group 2 Euclase Stakes (1200m) on May 6th, but is one of the class horses of this field and should find a good position off the pace from barrier 11. Fragonard (barrier 1) performed well in a barrier trial alongside Vega Magic recently and maps to get a great run from the rails with Craig Williams in the saddle, while Lovani (barrier 4) is seeking a third-consecutive race win, but will undoubtedly need to improve upon stepping up in form here. Divine Chills (barrier 2) has failed to fire outside the first two through her four most-recent starts and is worth consideration at each-way odds.
Tip: No. 4 Merriest ($4.60)
Race 3 (1:35pm) Johnnie Walker Plate (1200m)
It is not a black type race, however the field for the Johnnie Walker Plate could just as easily be stepping out for a Group 1 feature race and there is a case to be made for close to every runner. The resuming Tulip (barrier 7) was one of the more consistent performers of her two-year-old crop; running right in the finish of the Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Stakes and Golden Slipper, and winning the Group 3 Magic Night Stakes most notably. Limestone (barrier 8) was also a standout through summer and the early autumn and won the Group 3 Ladbrokes Blue Diamond Preview before finishing second in the Group 2 Blue Diamond Prelude in Febuary. Roomooz (barrier 5) is more than up to the class of this race, while Garrard (barrier 4) has form around some of the best horses of her age group and is not without a chance.
Tip: No. 1 Tulip ($2.60)
Race 4 (2:10pm) Ranvet Handicap (1600m)
A capacity field will step out in Race 4 on McKenzie Stakes Day and several horses have winning claims. Sin To Win (barrier 7) ran a credible third in his first Australian start on August 5th and will only improve into this race and up to a mile, while Lord Tennyson (barrier 3) has only been fair at his two most-recent starts, but is up to the quality of this field. Jaminzah (barrier 11) is seeking a third-consecutive race win, but has been charged with carrying 60kgs and overcoming a tough draw, while Data Point (barrier 9) also failed to fire last time out, but found strong form prior and is up to this class, should he bring his best. Rebellious Lord (barrier 14) is yet to gain a start, but is flying and is a genuine lightweight chance.
Tip: No. 12 Sin To Win ($2.90)
Race 5 (2:45pm) MSC Signs Handicap (2040m)
Ten stayers will contest Race 5 at The Valley on Saturday and the highlight is undoubtedly the return of 2016 Melbourne Cup winner Almandin (barrier 5). The Monsun gelding has not been seen since his impressive win in the Flemington feature, but was a standout last spring and can win this race on class alone. Stable mate Hans Holbein (barrier 3) will also resume and was a strong and consistent performer last time in, while Pacodali (barrier 8) is seeking three on the trot and will have conditions to suit. Killarney Kid (barrier 6) and Second Bullet (barrier 10) have both been running well and have a fitness edge on a good portion of this field. Rose Of Virginia (barrier 4) returns from a freshen-up and is capable at long odds.
Tip: No. 2 Killarney Kid – Each Way ($7.50/$2.50)
Race 6 (3:25pm) Listed McKenzie Stakes (1200m)
Eleven three-year-olds will step out in the feature race, including Bandipur (barrier 5). The Godolphin colt ran a pleasing second in a 1200m sprint at Caulfield on July 15th, before storming home to win the Listed Lightning Stakes (1050m) on July 29th. Azazel (barrier 7) has been a strong and consistent performer through his short career and resumed for a smart win at Flemington a fortnight ago. VRC Sires’ Produce winner Sircconi (barrier 10) may need the run and more distance, but he is one of the class horses of this field and will cross the field to take up the running, should he jump well. Cao Cao (barrier 9), Lone Eagle (barrier 11) and Muraaqeb (barrier 8) are all live chances in McKenzie Stakes betting.
Tip: No. 1 Azazel – Each Way ($5.50/$2.50)
Race 7 (4:05pm) Listed Carlyon Stakes (1000m)
A classy and open field will step out for the Listed Carlyon Stakes and there is winning potential across the board. Heatherly (barrier 2) resumed for a smart win in the race last year and should prove extremely difficult to beat with conditions to suit once more on Saturday. Missrock (barrier 4) returned to racing in excellent form in autumn and is a proven first-up performer. Jungle Edge (barrier 9) will appreciate a wet track and will need to show some pace early to take up the running from the potentially awkward barrier 9. Prussian Vixen (barrier 12) posted a maiden black type win in autumn and will enjoy the conditions of this race first-up, while El Divino (barrier 6), Speedeor (barrier 7) and Keen Array (barrier 10) are all more than capable at the class.
Tip: No. 2 Keen Array – Each Way ($12/$3.50)
Race 8 (4:45pm) Ladbrokes Handicap (1500m)
An open field will step out for the Ladbrokes Handicap and it is set to be the most well-contested race on 2017 McKenzie Stakes Day. Articus (barrier 7) is on a path towards the Caulfield Cup, but has been charged with carrying 61.5kgs first-up, while stable mate Raw Impulse (barrier 16) will have to overcome the outside barrier and may also need the run. Duke Of Brunswick (barrier 10) has returned to racing in smart form this time, has a fitness edge and is more suited to the distance of the Ladbrokes Handicap than a good portion of his rivals. Grey Lion (barrier 15) will likely need the run, but is up to the class on his day, while Nozomi (barrier 6) will enjoy a step up in trip and will take improvement into the race from a smart first-up run. Harlow Gold (barrier 13) has been allocated a sticky draw, but runs well fresh and should enjoy the conditions of this race.
Tip: No. 10 Harlow Gold – Each Way ($12/$3.90)
Race 9 (5:20pm) Art Series Hotel Group Handicap (1200m)
Thirteen horses remain in contention for the final race on McKenzie Stakes Day, following the scratching of Go The Journey. Mighty Like (barrier 6) has yet to find his best form through two starts this time, but is rock-hard fit and has the luxury of claiming apprentice Chris Caserta in the saddle. Oak Door (barrier 11) was a Group 2 winner in autumn, but has been tasked with a tough draw first-up and may require a run. Oberland (barrier 10) was disappointing in his first start for Darren Weir on July 29th, but should take benefit into this race, while Rocket Tommy (barrier 9) will also improve second-up and should enjoy a return to racing with a turn. Red Alto (barrier 5) was a smart winner first-up and there is nothing to suggest that he can’t repeat that effort in this race.
Tip: No. 5 Red Alto – Each Way ($12/$3.60)