Winchester and Zabeelionaire will back up in the Melbourne Cup on Tuesday after running in the Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington today.
Zabeelionaire and Winchester both made up ground late, finishing fifth and sixth respectively in perfect Melbourne Cup trials.
The Mackinnon Stakes was once considered the key lead-up race to the Melbourne Cup but recently trainers are choosing to keep their stayers fresh by not running them on the Saturday before the Cup.
Even veteran trainer Bart Cummings chose not to run Precedence or Sanagas in the Mackinnon Stakes this year.
Every one of Cumming’s twelve Melbourne Cup winners, except Saintly in 1996 who came through the Cox Plate, ran in the Mackinnon Stakes on the Saturday before their Melbourne Cup triumph.
Sixteen horses have completed the Mackinnon Stakes/Melbourne Cup double but no horses have been successful since Cummings-trained Rogan Josh in 1999.
Viewed, also trained by the Cups King, was the last horse to run in the Mackinnon Stakes and back up and win the Melbourne Cup the following Tuesday.
Glass Harmonium won the 2011 Mackinnon Stakes but produced a flat performance in the Melbourne Cup and finished second last.
2012 Mackinnon Stakes winner Alcopop will not contest the Melbourne Cup.
Winchester and Zabeelionaire are both well down Melbourne Cup betting markets.
Melbourne Cup favourites Americain and Dunaden have not run since the Caulfield Cup while Luca Cumani-trained Mount Athos hasn’t raced since winning the Geoffrey Freer Stakes on the 18th of August.