The Victorian Spring Racing Carnival includes months of high-quality racing. One of the events culminates in the Mackinnon Stakes, which takes place on the Saturday following the Melbourne Cup.
It’s a race steeped in history, which are some of the most notable Mackinnon Stakes facts.
The Mackinnon Stakes
1. 14 horses have won the Mackinnon Stakes and the Melbourne Cup in the same year
Testament to the quality of this race, there have been 14 horses in its 152-year history who have managed to claim it in the same year that they have won the biggest race in the country.
The first horse to do it was Malua back in 1884, and no horse has managed to do it since the turn of the century, with Rogan Josh being the most recent winner of the double, having accomplished the feat in 1999.
Sandwiched between those two are some pretty handy names – the most notable among them is Phar Lap, who did it in 1930, Rising Fast did it in 1954, and Rain Lover in 1968.
Only one horse has ever managed it on more than one occasion, with that prestigious honor going to the 1932 and 1934 Melbourne Cup winner Peter Pan.
2. 14 horses have won the Mackinnon Stakes on multiple occasions
The same number of horses to have done the Mackinnon Stakes/Melbourne Cup double have also won the Mackinnon Stakes on more than one occasion.
For the most part, these victories have come in back-to-back years, Phar Lap again an example of that, having won in 1930 and 1931.
Two horses have managed to exceed that effort and win on three occasions – the first was Wakeful, who won it three years on the trot, so to speak, between 1901 and 1903, while Tranquil Star won it in 1942, 1944, and 1945.
The achievement has become increasingly rare over time, and the last horse to win this race for a second time was Belmura Lad way back in 1981.
Oddsmakers are now putting tremendous odds on every horse that wins the race once since the possibility of winning it for the second time keeps going down.
3. Only 3 horses have won from a double-figure barrier since 1983
Wide barriers have proven to be, as it were, a barrier to victory at the Mackinnon Stakes in the past four decades.
It’s something of a quirk given that the layout of Flemington means that horses have plenty of time to find their order before the first bend in a 2,000-metre race, but it’s been scarce to see a horse draw wide still get the chocolates.
Each of the barriers 10, 12, and 14 have seen one victor in the past 38 editions of the race, while horses from other double-figure barriers have not won at all in that time.
Contrast that with single figure barriers, from each of which at least two winners have emerged since 1983, with barrier 4 leading the charge with eight winners and six winners having jumped from barrier 8.
The Mackinnon Stakes has long been a significant race on the Australian racing calendar. The decision to move it to after the Melbourne Cup has had a further positive impact on the quality of the fields that line up in it.
Some of the best stayers now use it as a way to round out their season rather than as a lead-up to the Melbourne Cup, and interest in it has piqued further as a result.
Over the course of its 152-year history, plenty of intriguing facts and figures have emerged from this great race, and the above three are some of the most noteworthy.
4. A Little Bit Of History
The name of this renowned race comes from a Victoria Racing Club former chairman, L.K.S. (Lauchlan Kenneth Scobie) MacKinnon.
Originally the race was held on the exact opposite day of the carnival than now, during the first day, known as Victoria Derby Day.
It was in 2016 when The chairman made the change to the Melbourne Cup Carnival’s last day. Before that, it was the Cantala Stakes that took place on the last day.
In 2016, Cantala Stakes was moved today and named Emirates Stakes, although only until 2017.
Before 2016, the race was the lead-in to the longer 3,200 meters Cup, which ran on November’s first Tuesday.
According to the Victoria Racing Club, The Victoria Racing club moved to the last day of the carnival to attract better horses to the race instead of just being a race meant to prepare for the upcoming Melbourne Cup.
On the whole, we are talking about a highly prestigious race that right now welcomes several quality horses and is a pretty big racing event.