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A guide to the Group One Mackinnon Stakes

MACKINNON STAKES

* $2 million Group One, 2000m, weight-for-age

* Run as race eight at Flemington on Saturday, November 9, 4.55pm AEDT

HISTORY

* The 2000m-race was formerly held on Victoria Derby Day and used as a Melbourne Cup lead-in

* The Victoria Racing Club decided its importance as a Cup pathway had diminished and announced in 2016 it would be transferred to the final day of the Cup carnival

* That race is now called the Kennedy Mile (1600m) on day one and the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) is on the last of the four days

NOTABLE WINNERS

* Carbine (1890), Wakeful (1901-02-03), Gloaming (1924), Phar Lap (1930-31-32), Peter Pan (1934), Ajax (1938), Tranquil Star (1942, 1944-45), Flight (1946), Comic Court (1949-50), Rising Fast (1954-55), Tulloch (1960), Tobin Bronze (1966), Dulcify (1979), At Talaq (1986), Better Loosen Up (1990), Let’s Elope (1991), Lonhro (2002) So You Think (2010)

TALKING POINTS

* New Zealand mare Melody Belle chasing her 11th Group One seven days after arrogant Empire Rose Stakes victory

* Irish mare Magic Wand, second favourite to Melody Belle, backs up from her 10th-place finish in the Melbourne Cup

* Japanese visitors Kluger and Suzuka Devious also add an international flavour to the race

* Gailo Chop, 2015 winner of this race, returns for a second shot at the Mackinnon crown

* Godolphin warrior and four-time Group One winner Hartnell lines up for his 58th, and last, start

WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS ARE SAYING

“It’s very hard to fault her form and we think she deserves an opportunity to have a go at the best of them. We are going to need a little bit of luck with the way the barriers have come out, but hopefully there is good tempo in the race and we can get back a little bit, where hopefully she can finish off as strongly as she did last Saturday” – Melody Belle’s trainer Jamie Richards

“It surprises some people that he’s only won four Group One races, they think he’s won more than that. But 10 of his wins have been in stakes races and he was placed in Group One’s 13 times. It’s an amazing record” – trainer James Cummings on Hartnell’s legacy

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