Happy Clapper and Sky Boy sprinkle stardust on the richest mile race in the world
One of Australia’s most popular horses, Happy Clapper, and emerging galloper Sky Boy have added further star quality to The All-Star Mile after they were both nominated for the world’s richest 1600m race.
Happy Clapper is the flagbearer of his trainer Pat Webster’s Sydney stable, having won 11 races and more than $6 million in prizemoney in his decorated career; whilst Sky Boy, jointly trained by Bart Cummings’ son Anthony and grandson Ed, stretched his winning streak to five races when taking out the Group 2 Villiers Stakes (1600m) last Saturday.
Happy Clapper, a winner of three races at the very highest level, has returned to training two weeks earlier than usual with the specific aim of targeting the inaugural edition of the $5m All-Star Mile, which will be run at Flemington on Saturday 16 March, 2019.
Given the cult status enjoyed by Happy Clapper, who has chased home the mighty mare Winx more often than any other horse, Webster is confident the eight-year-old will attract enough votes to gain a place in the field when the voting period officially opens from Monday 21 January, 2019.
“It was our plan to run Happy Clapper in the All-Star Mile from the moment the race was announced, because the prizemoney is obviously very appealing and the mile is his ideal distance,” said Webster.
“His form over a mile is second only to Winx, the greatest mare of all time. He’s finished second to her three or four times, and if she nominates for the race there’s a chance we will be running for second place again. But whether or not she runs, Happy Clapper will definitely take his place – assuming he gets enough votes.
“He’s a very popular horse, so I’d probably be a little disappointed and surprised if he didn’t get his chance. Everywhere you go, people have heard of him. I had a builder come around this morning to give me a quote on some work, and I reckon I got a discount when he found out that I train Happy Clapper!”
Sky Boy, four years younger than Happy Clapper, has won seven of his 12 starts including most recently the $250,000 Villiers Stakes at Randwick, which was his first run at Group level.
He has joined Group 1 winner Foundry (trained by Terry Kelly); Main Stage, part-owned by several Richmond FC players including Dusty Martin; Colin Little’s Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) runner-up Vassilator; Mick Sell’s Dunkeld Cup (1800m) winner Penny to Sell; and the Steve Richards-trained Holbien amongst the nominations for The All-Star Mile.
Nominations for the All-Star Mile will close on Tuesday January 15, 2019, with the $500 nomination fee being donated to the official charity.
Public voting will be open from January 21 to February 18, with the top ten vote-getters who provisionally accept their places in the field due to be revealed on Thursday, 21 February.
The four wildcards, who can be selected by Racing Victoria (RV) from outside the original nominations, will then be announced on or before Monday, 4 March.
The All-Star Mile is a joint initiative between RV and Victoria’s three metropolitan clubs, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC), Melbourne Racing Club (MRC) and Moonee Valley Racing Club (MVRC).
In a first for Australian racing, the All-Star Mile will be rotated annually across the three racetracks, with Caulfield set to host the race in 2020 and The Valley in 2021.