Phanton call: the greatest Melbourne Cup horses
John O’Shea withdrew one-time Mackinnon Stakes favourite Magic Hurricane from Saturday’s group 1 event after the horse returned a blood result that his trainer wasn’t prepared to gamble with.
O’Shea said that the horse’s blood had been examined and the overall result saw the horse below 100 per cent, with O’Shea unprepared to take any risks with the horse.
“Look, it was just a little bit of a concern that I got the results and I thought look, he’s probably not worth risking,” O’Shea said. “He’s got an exciting autumn ahead of him, so I’m just being a little bit cautious.
“He’ll go to the paddock and be set specifically for next year’s Australian Cup, which we believe is a perfect target for the horse.”
Magic Hurricane was highly impressive in his last start, when winning the Metropolitan in Sydney and, after missing a run in the Caulfield Cup, the Mackinnon Stakes was to be his next goal.
“He’s a very nice horse, we’re not going to push him, he’ll have a nice long break now and he’ll come back better than ever in the autumn.
“He’s done a great job for us this time in and the autumn will be an excellent time for him to shine,” O’Shea said.
Fawkner had already been withdrawn from Saturday’s weight-for-age encounter after drawing the outside in barrier 15.
Fawkner has had an indifferent spring with barriers, after drawing alley 14 for last Saturday’s Cox Plate.
O’Shea still believes he has a “winning chance” in this year’s Mackinnon, with high-class weight-for-age performer, Contributer, representing the stable.
“I couldn’t be happier with him, he looks great and he should really be at his peak in the Mackinnon,” he said.
With the withdrawals of Fawkner and Magic Hurricane, the race has become even tougher, with those who failed in the Cox Plate now a chance of redeeming that form.
O’Shea said that he was looking forward to the four days with his stable and was also happy with his Melbourne Cup aspirant, Hartnell.
However, the trainer stressed that he believes this year’s $6 million handicap is a race brimming with quality.
“You know, if Hartnell ran 10th, it could be an excellent performance, considering the depth of talent attempting to win a Melbourne Cup,” O’Shea said.
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