Tosen Stardom ($6.50)
Run over a distance of 2,000 metres, the Mackinnon Stakes is regarded as the premier mile-and-a-quarter race held at Flemington. It is held on Stakes Day, also sometimes referred to as Family Day, the final meet of the Melbourne Cup carnival.
First run back in 1869, the race was called the Melbourne Stakes until 1936. Since 1937, the race has gone by its current name, the Mackinnon Stakes. Up until 2016, the Mackinnon was run on the Saturday before the Melbourne Cup. It was regarded- like the Hotham Handicap- as a last ditch effort to secure a spot in the race that stops a nation.
However, after deciding that Derby Day didn't need two chances to sneak into the Cup on Derby Day, the race was swapped with Cantala Stakes, which until recently featured on Stakes Day. This move by the VRC proved to be a masterstoke.
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.
A bunch of quality horses 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.