The 2015 Mackinnon Stakes field has been released and 15 intriguing gallopers are set to contest the $1 million event at Flemington on Saturday.
Happy Trails backed up from the Cox Plate to win the Mackinnon Stakes in 2014 and the veteran gelding is one of four horses that will be given the chance to replicate that feat this weekend.
The son of Good Journey never had a winning chance in the Cox Plate, but before that he finished a close second behind Criterion in the Group 1 Ladbrokes Caulfield Stakes (2000m) and he has previously recorded three Group 1 victories at Flemington.
Pornichet returned to a semblance of his best form with a good fourth in the Cox Plate and he will back-up in the Cox Plate along with Lloyd Williams-owned Fawkner and OTI Racing-owned import Gailo Chop.
Godolphin have a strong hand in the Mackinnon Stakes and both Contributer and Magic Hurricane are set to take their place in the field after missing the Cox Plate and the Caulfield Cup respectively.
Trainer John O’Shea elected to bypass the Cox Plate with Contributer and save him for the Mackinnon Stakes, while Magic Hurricane controversially missed out on a place in the Caulfield Cup field following his impressive win in The Metropolitan.
Another trainer with multiple runners in the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes field is Chris Waller, who will have Weary, Flamingo Star and Index Linked in the race.
Flamingo Star has been the early market-mover in the Mackinnon Stakes betting markets and the stable believes that he is now ready to peak following his fast-finishing fifth in the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 10.
Weary took up the running and failed to beat home a single runner in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m), but he has been freshened up for the Mackinnon Stakes and he performed well in a barrier trial over 1030 metres at Rosehill Gardens on October 16.
One of the only horse that is set to take winning form into the Mackinnon Stakes is Darren Weir-trained Stratum Star, who has been one of the star performers of the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival to date.
Stratum Star took out the Group 1 Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) and he finished a credible third in the Toorak Handicap before he showed that he was capable of running out a strong 2000 metres when he took out the Group 3 David Jones Cup (2000m) at Caulfield on October 17.
One of the most interesting runners in the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes field is Australian Bloodstock-owned Magic Artist, who is set to make his Australian racing debut.
Magic Artist is yet to record a win at the highest level of racing, but he finished a close second in the Group 1 Premio Presidente Della Repubblica (2012m) in Italy earlier this year and trained Andreas Wohler is very happy with the condition of the son of Iffraaj ahead of the Mackinnon Stakes.
Extra Zero (barrier ten), Ecuador (barrier three), Rising Romance (barrier 12) and Set Square (barrier eight) round out the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes field.
You can score the best Mackinnon Stakes odds with Ladbrokes, who are offering Best Tote or Starting Price +20% for every single horse in the field.