10/26/2011 11:44AM

Australia: Melbourne Cup prep tops four Group 1 stakes at Flemington


Four Group 1 races, including the Mackinnon Stakes, the last prep for the Melbourne Cup, are part of Saturday’s program at Flemington Racecourse in Australia, the first day of that track’s famous spring carnival.

The field for the $1.03 million Mackinnon Cup, run over about 1 1/4 miles, includes Rekindled Interest, who was third in the Group 1 Cox Plate on Oct. 22. Six of the 14 Mackinnon Cup entrants – Glass Harmonium, Linton, Midas Touch, Mourayan, Precedence and The Verminator – hold entries for Tuesday’s Melbourne Cup.

Glass Harmonium was 10th in the Cox Plate after a poor start.

In 2010, So You Think won the Mackinnon Cup and was third in the Melbourne Cup. A pre-entrant for the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5, So You Think has won three Group 1 races in England and Ireland this year.

The richest race on Saturday’s Flemington program is the $1.545 million Victorian Derby. Run over about 1 9/16 miles, the Victorian Derby is led by Manawanui, who was third in the Caulfield Guineas over a mile on Oct. 8 and won the Group 2 Mitchelton Wines Vase over about 1 1/4 miles on Oct. 22.

The other two Group 1 races are run at shorter distances. In the $515,000 Myer Classic over a mile, More Joyous, a 5-year-old New Zealand-bred mare, seeks the fifth Group 1 win of her career.

In the $515,000 Coolmore Stud Stakes over about six furlongs, Sepoy will be a heavy favorite to win for the 10th time in his 11th start.

WATCH LIVE: Streaming Video, PPs and Analysis of Friday night's card