The 14 runners for The All-Star Mile have been confirmed, with Australian Guineas (1600m) heroine Mystic Journey, multiple Group 1 winner Hartnell and Lindsay Park’s rising star Hawkshot completing the field after being named as wildcards.
Racing Victoria’s (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, made the announcement this afternoon, 12 days out from the inaugural running of the world’s richest mile race at Flemington on Saturday, 16 March.
Carpenter noted that Mystic Journey had made a compelling case for inclusion in the $5 million contest with her maiden Group 1 win at Flemington on Saturday.
Adam Trinder’s outstanding three-year-old filly, who flies the flag proudly for Tasmania, has now won her last five starts and taken her career earnings past the $1 million mark from just 12 starts.
At the other end of the experience spectrum is Godolphin star Hartnell, a proven big race performer who has won four races at the elite level including this season’s Epsom Handicap over a mile in track record time.
The eight-year-old, trained by James Cummings, showed he had lost none of his zest for racing with a strong finishing third in the Group 1 Yulong Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield last month.
With career prizemoney winnings of more than $5.5 million and a current international rating of 121, The All-Star Mile wildcard panel felt that Hartnell fully warranted a place in the field.
The final wildcard went to Hawkshot, who ran an impressive second to Mystic Journey in the Australian Guineas three weeks after he broke through at Group 2 level with a devastating display in the Autumn Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.
Hawkshot was not amongst the 130 nominations received for The All-Star Mile but, under the terms and conditions of the race, the panel is entitled to select a wildcard runner from outside the original list of nominees.
“There has been a healthy debate in recent weeks over who should receive the last three All-Star Mile wildcards, and it was impossible to overlook the performance of Mystic Journey in the Australian Guineas,” Carpenter said.
“Adam Trinder’s stable star is arguably Australia’s most exciting filly, and it is very pleasing to see the state of Tasmania join Queensland, South Australia, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria with a representative in the final field.
“Godolphin will have two representatives in The All-Star Mile, with Hartnell joining his Group 1-winning stablemate Alizee – an emerging superstar of Australian racing – in the line-up.
“Hartnell’s list of achievements since arriving in Australia – including setting a track record when winning the 2018 Epsom Handicap at Randwick – are outstanding and he joins established Group 1 milers such as his fellow wildcard Happy Clapper and Mick Price’s Flemington specialist Grunt in the field.
“The decision on who should receive the final wildcard was more difficult, with several contenders presenting their case over recent weekends, but ultimately the panel felt that emerging three-year-old star Hawkshot was the worthiest recipient.
“He was a breathtakingly brilliant winner of the Autumn Stakes and then ran bravely when leading in the Australian Guineas from the outside gate to beat all bar Mystic Journey.
“With his Lindsay Park stablemate Amphitrite already voted into the field, the first three runners home in the Australian Guineas, our signature three-year-old race of the autumn, will now contest the race and represent the next generation of equine stars.
“With the announcement of the remaining three wildcards, we now have a perfect blend of established topliners, emerging stars and a unique array of fan-voted horses that add to what will be an intriguing contest on 16 March at Flemington.”
The four wildcards – Pat Webster’s stable star Happy Clapper was awarded the first 11 days ago – will join the top 10 vote-getters in the field for The All-Star Mile.
The barrier draw will be conducted at 11am on Tuesday, 12 March, four days ahead of the inaugural All-Star Mile Raceday at Flemington.
The 14 All-Star Mile runners, in saddlecloth order, are as follows:
1. Happy Clapper (Pat Webster, NSW)
2. Hartnell (James Cummings, NSW)
3. Material Man (Justin Warwick, WA)
4. Grunt (Mick Price, VIC)
5. Moss ‘n’ Dale (Peter Gelagotis, VIC)
6. Foundry (Terry Kelly, VIC)
7. Man of His Word (Dean Krongold, VIC)
8. Balf’s Choice (Ryan Balfour, SA)
9. Mr Money Bags (Robbie Griffiths, VIC)
10. Urban Ruler (Chris Munce, QLD)
11. Alizee (James Cummings, NSW)
12. Hawkshot (Lindsay Park, VIC)
13. Mystic Journey (Adam Trinder, TAS)
14. Amphitrite (Lindsay Park, VIC)