Trainer John Sargent has revealed that Gust Of Wind will not run in the 2015 Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington on Saturday and will go into the Group 1 Melbourne Cup (3200m) without another lead-up run.
Gust Of Wind was included in the Mackinnon Stakes nominations that were released yesterday, but Sargent said that he was happy with the way the Australian Oaks winner worked at Flemington’s Breakfast With The Best this morning and he does not believe that she will need another race start before she steps-up to 3200 metres for the first time in the 2015 Melbourne Cup.
“That was the best I have seen her work for a long time,” Sargent said.
“Before the Caulfield Cup she was beaten by eight lengths by Volkstok’n’barrell, but I put the blinkers on today and that kept her mind on the job.
“That was good staying work.
“I will see how she pulls up, but if she does I think that we will go straight into the Cup.”
Gust Of Wind was set for the Melbourne Cup after she beat Winx to win the Group 1 Australian Oaks (2400m) at Royal Randwick on April 11 and she has performed well without winning in four race starts during the 2015 Spring Racing Carnival.
The Darci Brahma mare ran good closing sectionals in the Group 2 Warwick Stakes (1400m) at Royal Randwick on August 22 and the Group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 12 before she performed fairly in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (2000m) at the same venue on October 4.
Gust Of Wind was settled close to the speed in the Group 1 Caulfield Cup (2400m) by jockey Chad Schofield and she toughed it out to the line to finish fourth behind Mongolian Khan, Trip To Paris and Our Ivanhowe.
Sargent believes that Gust Of Wind will be better suited if she is settled in the second half of the field in the Melbourne Cup and he is confident that she will run out a strong 3200 metres.
“Chad knows the horse now and we will ride her a lot colder in the Cup and start her run a bit sooner,” Sargent said.
“She gets into a high cruising speed and she goes those high sectionals without being brilliant, but two miles should suit.
“We will get going a bit sooner because if they sit and sprint it won’t suit her.”
Gust Of Wind is currently available at 2015 Mackinnon Stakes odds with Ladbrokes, while Fawkner ($6.50) and Magic Hurricane ($6.50) are locked in a battle for favouritism from Stratum Star ($7.50), Happy Trails ($10), Magic Artist ($10) and Pornichet ($10).
You can score the best Mackinnon Stakes odds with Ladbrokes, who will offer Best Tote or Starting Price +20% for every single race at Flemington on Saturday.