Tosen Stardom ($6.50)
The Mackinnon Stakes is the highlight of Stakes Day, the final day of the Melbourne Cup carnival at Flemington. Run over a distance of 2,000 metres, the Mackinnon Stakes is regarded as the premier mile-and-a-quarter race held at Flemington.
The race was inaugurated way back in 1869 as the Melbourne Stakes. For every year bar one until 2016, the race was run on Derby Day, the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup. For many years, the Mackinnon was considered- like the Hotham Handicap- as a last ditch effort to secure a spot in the race that stops a nation.
However, after coming to the conclusion that Derby Day didn't need two last chance saloon races for Cup hopefuls, the race was swapped with Cantala Stakes, which until recently featured on the Saturday after the Cup. This decision by the VRC proved to be a masterstroke.
The race's prize money was increased from one to two million, and now the Mackinnon is one of the carnival's genuine feature races. It is not uncommon to find Cox Plate horses backing up in what is another tough weight-for-age race for middle distance horses.
Plenty of classy animals have saluted in the Mackinnon over the years. Carbine, Tulloch, Tobin Bronze, Dulcify, Better Loosen Up, Lonhro and most recently So You Think have all triumphed in the race.
Since the latter took out the race in 2010, the shortest priced winner paid $6, suggesting that the Mackinnon is a race with plenty of value on offer.
Last year's edition of the Mackinnon Stakes saw the Darren Weir-trained Japanese import Tosen Stardom fly home to victory.
After struggling to find a clear passage for much of the straight, Tosen Stardom would've been a good thing beat had he not got out. But jockey Damian Lane eventually found clear running before letting his horse unleash.