Ad Mr Brightside got the better of Alligator Blood in the Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) in September. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile Preview

10 November 2023 Written by Racing And Sports

We get arguably the best three milers in the country clashing at Flemington on Saturday.

The revamp of Stakes Day to Champions Day has been a great success in my opinion. It sets up as a proper ‘finals day’ and while the Cox Plate might be the grand final for a lot of weight-for-age horses, we’ve seen the best horses race again at Flemington and the quality has been strong.

That is especially true for Saturday’s Group 1 Kennedy Champions Mile (1600m) with Cox Plate second, third and seventh all present and occupying some 98% of the (admittedly weak) market.

Mr Brightside bounced back from a below best effort behind Fangirl at Randwick to go within a nose of Cox Plate glory, many thinking he’d won on the line. Alligator Blood was as tough as ever in third only a head away, and Fangirl was somewhat unlucky trying to follow Mr Brightside along the rails, only 1.5 lengths away.

The betting there was interesting. Mr Brightside started a shade of odds-on to beat Fangirl ($5.5) at Randwick having also started odds-on when dropping Alligator Blood here at Flemington in the Group 1 PFD Food Services Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m).

Some are suggesting Fangirl should’ve gone close to winning the Cox Plate, but I think that’s false. She didn’t have clear running, but I don’t think she was bursting. Give her Mr Brightside’s run and I don’t think she wins or finishes any closer than he did.

Take away Mr Brightside’s ‘flop’ in Sydney, he’s run to 125 with Timeform either side of that which is better than anything in this field has run to. Fangirl might be suited by Flemington and perhaps a small field with good tempo, but she’s still going to be giving Mr Brightside a head start, who should land right on the back of the leaders.

Alligator Blood can’t be discounted either. He won this race last year running to 122 and beating Mr Brightside but this preparation, the ledger reads 3-0 Mr Brightside, who sprinted straight past him in the Makybe Diva Stakes.

I’m surprised Mr Brightside isn’t favourite. All three come back from the Cox Plate so to try and speculate who might be flat or run below their best seems impossible. On figures, Mr Brightside is the best horse in the race and gets every chance in the run. $3 for him in what is essentially a race in three seems fair.

Tickets for TAB Champions Stakes Day, featuring three $3 million championship Group 1 races to close out the 2023 Melbourne Cup Carnival, are still available for members and the general public.