It is a race most famously known for being a key lead-up to the Melbourne Cup but trainer Peter Gelagotis revealed today that he has set his stable star Hvasstan for the Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
Hvasstan was one of the most consistent three-year-olds during the 2012 Spring Racing Carnival and won the Group 3 Norman Robinson Stakes (2000m) before going on to finish fourth behind Fiveandahalfstar and Super Cool in the Group 1 Victoria Derby (2500m).
The son of Fastnet Rock failed to return to his best form during his autumn campaign, with his best result a fourth place finish in the Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m), but Gelagotis believes the rising four-year-old can, once again, be competitive at Group 1 level with the Mackinnon Stakes on Victoria Derby Day at the top of his agenda.
“I think that the Mackinnon Stakes would be an absolute glamour race for him,” Gelagotis told Racing Ahead.
“It is the sort of race that everybody has an afterthought for but I’m looking to peak him for it.
“He seems to be at his very strongest over 2000 metres and I’m really liking that race.”
Gelagotis has not selected a spring kick-off point for Hvasstan but said he is hoping to increase the entire’s value at stud this preparation with a view towards retiring him at the end of the year.
“He will probably step out in a 1400 somewhere and I’d like to try a win a good mile race with him,” the Moe-based trainer said.
“That is my preliminary target as I think that will enhance his pedigree as a stallion.
“If he can do that and we top him off with a win in the Mackinnon he would probably go to stud after that.”
Gelagotis has not made a decision on who will ride Hvasstan during his 2013 Spring Racing Carnival campaign with Damien Oliver, Craig Newitt and Glen Boss all in contention.