Galaxy of All-Stars in contention for the world's richest mile race
A total of 95 horses, including 26 Group 1 winners and 23 with more than $1 million in the bank, have been entered for The 2020 All-Star Mile, Australia’s only fan-voted race which takes place at Caulfield on Saturday, 14 March.
Defending champion Mystic Journey, eight equine athletes from the all-conquering Chris Waller stable and a trio of Group 1 contenders from the powerful Godolphin operation were amongst the eligible entries received before the closure of nominations at 12pm today (9 January).
Each $500 nomination fee will be donated to The All-Star Mile’s official charity, the Good Friday Appeal, which raises funds for the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne.
The voting – which is open to New Zealand residents for the first time this year – starts next Thursday (16 January), when connections of the 95 contenders will make their pitch for votes in a bid to finish in the top 10.
Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, said: “We’re delighted with the strength and depth of the nominations for The 2020 All-Star Mile, with 49 different training operations from right across Australia and New Zealand targeting the world’s richest mile race.
“It’s great to welcome back the original All-Star Mile winner, Tasmanian mare Mystic Journey, as she aims to defend her crown and we’re equally pleased to see leading stables from all six states in Australia nominating some of the most exciting milers in the country.
“Many trainers, such as the Lindsay Park team, have adopted a more strategic approach this year, with a stronger focus on quality rather than quantity which will make for a fiercely competitive battle to make the top 10.
“Another fascinating aspect is that New Zealand residents can vote for the first time, and I hope our friends from across the Tasman embrace what promises to be an intriguing second edition of The All-Star Mile.”
Waller’s crop includes Group 1 winners Kings Will Dream, Verry Elleegant, Funstar and Kolding, who has already amassed more than $5 million in prizemoney from just 15 career starts. The four-year-old is likely to prove popular with voters, having won his last three starts including the Group 1 Epsom Handicap over The All-Star Mile distance of 1600m.
Godolphin Australia’s head trainer James Cummings, who last year claimed the minor placings with the recently-retired Hartnell (second) and Alizee (third), will launch a three-pronged attack on the second running of the $5 million feature. Alizee is aiming to return for another attempt, with Thousand Guineas (1600m) winner Flit and three-time Group 1 champion Avilius also hoping to catch the eye of voters.
Mystic Journey, the $11,000 purchase who took her earnings past the $3 million mark with victory in the inaugural running of The All-Star Mile, will seek to retain her title for Tasmanian trainer Adam Trinder.
New Zealand is well represented in the nominations, with Kiwi horseman Jamie Richards entering last-start Group 1 Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) heroine Melody Belle, and Clayton Chipperfield bringing his rising star Catalyst across the Tasman Sea for the first time. Richards’ Cox Plate (2040m) placegetter Te Akau Shark was withdrawn from the entry list before nominations closed, with connections instead aiming to canvass votes for his stablemate Melody Belle, a 10-time Group 1 winner.
South Australian stables are also targeting the race, with Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas’ last-start Group 3 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) winner Dalasan one of 30 three-year-olds in the nominations list.
Leviathan owner Bob Peters joined the fray with a nomination for his Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) hero Regal Power, whilst WA Racing Hall of Fame trainer Neville Parnham is also relying on Western Australian voters to rally behind his talented four-year-old Platoon.
Prominent Sydney stables have also set their sights on The All-Star Mile, with Matt Smith (multiple Group 1 winner Fierce Impact), the first lady of racing, Gai Waterhouse, and training partner Adrian Bott (Wolfe and Yao Dash), Kris Lees (Group 1 winner Danceteria, Crystal Mile winner Chief Ironside and Miss Fabulass), Team Hawkes (Wild Planet and Rock), Bjorn Baker (Group 1 winner Samadoubt and stablemates Redouble and Irithea), and Richard Litt (Cox Plate runner-up Castelvecchio) joining Waller in nominating their best-performing milers.
Queensland voters are sure to throw their support behind the David Vandyke-trained Alligator Blood, whose only career defeat came by a nose in the Group 1 Caulfield Guineas (1600m) during the 2019 Spring Racing Carnival.
The horse that beat him that day, Super Seth, is one of five high-class nominees from the Freedman Racing stable; whilst the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace partnership have eight eligible entries including Group 1 winner Loving Gaby; and the training team of Tony and Calvin McEvoy have nominated five horses including 2019 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes hero Manuel, who attracted support from world-renowned comedian John Cleese in the inaugural edition.
Five wildcard runners will supplement the top 10 vote-getters to make up the field of 15 lining up in the second edition of The All-Star Mile.
For a full list of the eligible entrants, please click here