The $500,000 Ladbrokes C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield tomorrow (Saturday, 9 February) could have a significant impact on voting for The All-Star Mile, with 12 of the 15 gallopers contesting the first Group 1 of the Festival of Racing also nominated for the world’s richest mile race.
Group 1 winners Shillelagh, D’argento (both trained by Chris Waller), Best Of Days (James Cummings), Redkirk Warrior (Lindsay Park), Land of Plenty (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace) and Brave Smash (Kris Lees) will all be bidding to bolster their haul of victories at racing’s highest level.
Of the six, Land of Plenty is currently best placed to gain a start in The All-Star Mile at Flemington on Saturday, 16 March, with 2,390* votes moving last year’s Toorak Handicap (1600m) winner to 13th* place in the polls.
Best Of Days, one of three All-Star Mile nominees from the powerful Godolphin stable, is currently languishing in 49th* place in the voting, but that could all change if the 2018 Kennedy Mile (1600m) winner upsets his stablemate Kementari and takes out the C.F. Orr Stakes at 4.50pm tomorrow afternoon.
In contrast, another C.F. Orr Stakes runner, the Peter Gelagotis-trained Moss ‘n’ Dale, is already virtually guaranteed a start in the $5 million showpiece, having attracted more than 3,500 votes since voting opened on Monday, 21 January.
Apprentice jockey Jack Martin, who rode the six-year-old to victory at his last start in the Group 3 Craven Plate at Randwick, will be experiencing his first taste of Group 1 action at Caulfield tomorrow and will retain the ride should Moss ‘n’ Dale take his place in the Festival of Racing’s new flagship event at Flemington.
Perth-based jockey Lucy Warwick will also be in the saddle for her first Group 1 in Melbourne when she pilots Western Australian raider Material Man. At present Material Man, who is trained by Lucy’s father Justin Warwick, sits just inside the all-important top 10 places with 3,025* All-Star Mile votes.
So Si Bon, Fifty Stars (both trained by Lindsay Park), Manuel (Tony McEvoy) and Holbien (Steve Richards) round out the 12 All-Star Mile nominees lining up in the time-honoured C.F. Orr Stakes.
The final race of the day, the Group 3 JC Swift Hodges TS Carlyon Cup (1600m), could also result in a shake-up of The All-Star Mile voting, with nine of the 10 runners holding nominations.
They include Group 1 winners Harlem (currently 61st* in The All-Star Mile polls), Ace High (75th*) and Trap for Fools (50th*).
Earlier in the day, Chris Waller’s progressive new recruit Ringerdingding (currently 14th* in the polls), Matt Cumani’s exciting three-year-old Declares War (21st*) and the Lindsay Park-trained Good ‘n’ Fast (116th*) will contest the Group 2 Hyland Race Colours Autumn Stakes (1400m), as they aim to boost their chances of gaining a start in The All-Star Mile.
Other All-Star Mile contenders in action at Caulfield tomorrow include Mick Price’s Tavisan, who will run in the Group 2 Schweppes Rubiton Stakes (1100m); the Shane Nichols-trained I Am a Star, one of the leading hopes in the Group 3 MyPunter.com Bellmaine Stakes (1200m); and the in-form duo Silentz (Phillip Stokes) and Laure Me In (Tony McEvoy), who will go head-to-head in the opening race of the meeting, the Big Screen Company Handicap (1800m).
In Sydney, the Team Hawkes-trained Brutal will bid to preserve his unbeaten record – and catch the eye of All-Star Mile voters – when he lines up in the Aquis Farm Eskimo Prince Stakes (1200 metres) at Warwick Farm.
There are just 10 days left until The All-Star Mile voting officially closes at 12pm on Monday, 18 February. To date, more than 82,000 votes have been cast.
* votes and positions correct at the time of publication.