Irish-bred Mugatoo has become the latest contender for The All-Star Mile 2021 after his trainer Kris Lees nominated the talented six-year-old for the world’s richest mile race.
Aiming to become the first horse bred overseas to win the $5 million contest, Mugatoo has compiled an impressive race record since arriving on Australian shores at the end of 2019.
His first three appearances all produced wins, headlined by a 2.5-length victory in the Listed TAB Canberra Cup (2000m) under jockey Kerrin McEvoy. McEvoy was also in the saddle for his back-to-back victories earlier this year, firstly in the Group 3 Premiers Cup (1900m) and then on Mugatoo’s home track in the Newcastle Gold Cup (2300m).
Off the back of those two dominant performances, he started favourite for the Metropolitan (2400m) but was narrowly denied a first Group 1 win by his fellow import Mirage Dancer, trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young.
On his next start, Mugatoo finished a highly creditable fourth behind Sir Dragonet in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) at The Valley, the same track which will host the third edition of The All-Star Mile on Saturday, 13 March 2021.
The son of Henrythenavigator, who has amassed eight wins and just shy of $1 million in prizemoney from 16 career starts, is owned by the Australian Bloodstock syndicate whose most notable success came with Protectionist in the 2014 Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m).
“Australian Bloodstock were very active on social media in promoting their nominees for The All-Star Mile 2020, so we look forward to seeing what the team there have up their sleeves for Mugatoo when voting opens on 22 January,” said Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager - Racing.
“Mugatoo has three wins, a close second in the Metropolitan and a fourth in the Cox Plate from his last five runs, so he is clearly a very talented horse and would be a worthy inclusion in the field for the world’s richest mile race.
“It is pleasing to see trainers from New South Wales and across the country targeting Australia’s only fan-voted race, and it will be intriguing to see which other ‘All-Stars’ are entered before nominations close on 11 January.”
Mugatoo joins an elite list of nominees for The All-Star Mile 2021 which includes flying filly Montefilia, David Payne’s multiple Group 1 winner.
After scoring back-to-back wins at the highest level in the Flight Stakes (1600m) and the Spring Champion Stakes (2000m), Montefilia travelled to Melbourne to contest the Kennedy Oaks (2500m).
Despite a courageous performance, her bid to claim a third straight Group 1 win was thwarted by her fellow All-Star Mile nominee Personal, trained by the Lindsay Park team of Tom Dabernig and Ben Hayes.