The training partnership of Grant and Alana Williams will aim to defend their All-Star Mile crown with Arcadia Queen after officially nominating the multiple Group 1 winner for the third edition of the $5 million feature at The Valley on 13 March.
Last year, the husband and wife training team pulled off a stunning feat when they saddled the first two runners home in the world’s richest mile race, with Regal Power holding off a late charge from his stablemate Superstorm to claim the $2.25 million winner’s cheque at Caulfield.
Like Arcadia Queen, both Regal Power and Superstorm were bred by leviathan owner Bob Peters, who has dominated the racing scene in Western Australia in recent years.
In a bid to avoid splitting the WA voters, this year Peters has only nominated Arcadia Queen for The All-Star Mile, relying on the theory that her popularity in the west and achievements on racetracks across the country should help push her towards the top 10 in the public vote.
“Of course you never know how the voting will go, but we believe Arcadia Queen is one of the best mares in the country so we’re hopeful that she will get a run in the All-Star Mile,” said Peters.
“We haven’t decided where she will start her preparation yet, but she’s back in work and we’ll look to trial her at home over the next few weeks, then come up with a plan to bring her over to Melbourne and build a campaign towards the All-Star Mile.
“She showed what she’s capable of during the Spring Carnival, and if she comes back in that sort of form then she’ll be very competitive in any race she lines up in. I was obviously pretty pleased with what we managed to achieve in the All-Star Mile last year, and I believe she is probably our best hope for this year’s race.
“The plan is to bring Regal Power over to Melbourne at some point too, I didn’t want to split the vote but we’d obviously love to see him defend The All-Star Mile so we’ll be relying on a wildcard to get him into the race. I won’t be picking up the phone to (Racing Victoria’s EGM – Racing) Greg Carpenter just yet though – I’ll probably leave that until a bit closer to the race!”
Arcadia Queen hit a rich vein of form during the 2020 Victorian Spring Racing Carnival, headlined by her two Group 1 victories. Having scored minor placings in the Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) and Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) – with the ‘wizard of the west’ Willie Pike in the saddle on both occasions – the mare upset odds-on favourite and fellow All-Star Mile nominee Russian Camelot in the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes (2000m) at Caulfield.
After running a highly creditable fifth in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) – held at The Valley – Arcadia Queen notched the third Group 1 win of her career in the Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) at Flemington.
With jockey Luke Currie taking the reins after Pike had returned to his native Perth, Arcadia Queen defeated Fifty Stars (second) and Melody Belle (third) – who could both reoppose in The All-Star Mile 2021 – to take her Spring Racing Carnival earnings past the $2 million mark.
Arcadia Queen has been joined in the All-Star Mile nominations list by her fellow Western Australian Dom To Shoot, a three-year-old gelding trained in Perth by Sean and Jake Casey. The son of Shooting to Win is building a very handy race record, with three wins and seven minor placings from his 13 career outings.
On his last start, Dom To Shoot finished third against older horses in the Group 1 Kingston Town Classic (1800m) behind Truly Great (first) and Inspirational Girl (second) – both owned by Peters and trained by Team Williams.
Nominations for The All-Star Mile 2021 close at 12 noon (AEDT) next Monday (11 January), before the public voting period officially opens on Friday, 22 January. As with the previous two editions, when more than $100,000 was raised, each $500 nomination fee will again be donated to the race’s official charity, the Good Friday Appeal.