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Winx Absence Puts Squeeze on Mackinnon
Ironically, in absence – as it was in presence – Winx looms as large as ever. The now retired weight-for-age queen chased all her rivals away to the extent that bookies offered secondary markets on the small fields with “Winx out”, i.e. paying out on the runner-up. Now that she’s gone, the myriad hitherto stay-at-home weight-for-age cohort are rushing to fill the available spaces. That created a log-jam for the Cox Plate, and it’s doing likewise for Saturday’s Mackinnon Stakes, with racing.com reporting that the likely back-up of 10-time Gr1 winner Melody Belle and back-to-back Gr1 winner Fierce Impact will make landing a slot in the Flemington race highly elusive. Although not ideal for the owners of 33 nominated horses vying to snare one of 16 available barriers, the competition is ensuring capacity fields that are great for turnover and create races that are filled with intrigue.