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Blair House set to take home G1 Mackinnon Stakes

Mike Hedge

Another multi-national G1 Godolphin challenge is in the making when Blair House and It’s Somewhat tackle Saturday’s G1 LKS Mackinnon Stakes at Flemington.

In an open race, the Godolphin pair have strong prospects of adding another top-level victory to a spring collection that includes some of Australia’s best races.

Blair House (William Buick) is yet to win in Australia, but his two runs here make him the horse to beat in the Mackinnon.

At the first start of his current campaign, Blair House finished a handy fourth to Homesman in the G1 Underwood Stakes.

At his only other run, the Charlie Appleby-trained gelding was denied a G1 victory by another Godolphin runner, Benbatl, in the G1 Caulfield Stakes.

"He came out of that last run well and we purposefully skipped the Cox Plate because we thought we couldn't reverse the form with Benbatl, let alone Winx,” Appleby said.

“So we gave that a swerve and thought we could go into the Mackinnon with some fresh legs.

"I feel they have got us to beat on Saturday."

It’s Somewhat (Kerrin McEvoy) has raced moderately this time in, but trainer James Cummings believes he can return to the form that won him the G1 Doncaster Handicap in 2017.

“He looks a picture of health and is very fit,” Cummings said.

“His work has been improving all the time and we can expect to see him show the form he’s capable of.

“I’d like to think that this will be the best performance of his preparation.”

It’s Somewhat finished less than three lengths from the winner when sixth in the G2 Crystal Mile at Moonee Valley last start and three back ran an encouraging second to Ace High in the G2 Hill Stakes at Randwick.

An intriguing inclusion in the field is the G1 VRC Derby winner of last Saturday, Extra Brut, who has to be included among the chances, along with the Irish-trained Latrobe and the progressive Doubt Defying, a last-start winner of the Listed Sale Cup.