Mackintosh stakes claim for Epsom Handicap with gutsy win in Theo Marks Stakes

Who produced the best Epsom Handicap trial — Mackintosh or McCreery?

Hong Kong’s superstar jockey Joao Moreira rode both to win feature races for trainer Chris Waller at Rosehill Gardens on Saturday and replied without hesitation when asked the best Epsom trial: “I’d say the first one (McCreery).”

But whether McCreery goes to the Epsom is still undecided although Waller declared Mackintosh on track for the feature Randwick ‘‘mile” after his impressive return to racing in the Group 2 $200,000 Theo Marks Stakes (1300m).

“Mackintosh will go to the Epsom next,’’ Waller said. “It has always been the plan to go second-up into the Epsom so we will stick firmly to that. He’s been a good horse. The only start he failed in for our stable was the (Queensland) Derby. Every other run has been a win.

“He’s obviously a horse with talent. He’s gone to a new level today performing like that in a Group 2 field of good sprinters.”

Waller said McCreery, winner of the Kingston Town Stakes (2000m), could go to either the Epsom or The Metropolitan (2400m), both run at Royal Randwick on October 1.

Mackintosh, backed from $13 into $9, held off luckless stablemate Counterattack ($4) to win by a half neck with Southern Legend ($3 favourite) a half length away third.

Moreira described Mackintosh as “still very green”.

“He was shying away from other horses, he’s done a lot of things wrong but he has got a lot of ability at the same time,’’ he said. “He did that in good fashion today and he feels like the longer it gets it’s going to be better for him.’’

Mackintosh is now on track to emulate his stablemate, the mighty mare Winx who won the Theo Mark Stakes-Epsom double last year.

The only other horses to win both races are Cabochon (1967), Ricochet (1970), From The Planet (1989) and Racing To Win (2006).

Waller agreed Counterattack was the unlucky runner of the race after he was held up for a run inside Mackintosh from the top of the straight.

“Counterattack will go to the Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes at 1400m next and then the Toorak Handicap,’’ Waller added.

Counterattack’s rider Hugh Bowman said his mount was “unlucky obviously’’.

“He has come back well, looking forward to his next start,’’ he added.

Waller comes up roses
Sydney’s premier trainer Chris Waller prepared four winners including a treble of stable quinellas on Golden Rose Day when Invinzabeel won the closer at Rosehill.

Invinzabeel ($5 equal favourite) led home stablemate Dinghu Mountain ($5.50) by a half length in the Rosehill Bowling Club Handicap (1400m). Conarchie ($12) ran his usual honest race for third just in front of Fabrizio ($5).

Waller also prepared Mackintosh and Counterattack to run one-two in the Group 2 Theo Mark Stakes, Antonio Giuseppe and Four Carat led the field home in the Schweppes Handicap and McCreery won the Group 3 Kingston Town Stakes.

Waller’s for winners were shared between James McDonald (Invinzabeel), Hugh Bowman (Antonio Giuseppe) and Joao Moreira (McCreery, Mackintosh),

“That is the beauty of Sydney racing with the prizemoney going to a new level,’’ Waller said.

“It attracts the best jockeys and keeps the best horses in NSW which is what the punters want, what the media want and it makes everyone’s job easier. We have got the facilities to match now — all the bad stories are out of NSW racing, this is a good time for the sport.’’ – The Daily Telegraph