Queen of the west tops the charts after All-Star Mile voting hits new heights

After a record 147,830 validated votes were received for this year’s All-Star Mile, the first 10 horses vying to win the third edition of the world’s richest mile race have today been revealed with the top vote-getter Arcadia Queen again proving her popularity and her fellow Group 1 winner Mr Quickie claiming the 10th and final spot following a dramatic final 48 hours of voting.

As well as established performers like South Australian star Behemoth (14,699 votes) and magnificent Kiwi mare Probabeel (14,503), who finished second and third respectively behind Western Australia’s Arcadia Queen (15,105), The All-Star Mile 2021 has again thrown up the fascinating prospect that one of racing’s lesser lights could upstage their more celebrated rivals and claim the $2.25 million winner’s cheque at The Valley on Saturday, 13 March.    

By far the biggest move up the leaderboard during the blackout period – which commenced at 10pm (AEDT) last Friday (12 February) – was made by Still A Star, who rocketed from 10th place to fourth with 9,954 votes thanks chiefly to a tireless campaign in her home state of Tasmania by part-owner Monica Ryan, whose father Bill trains the four-year old known affectionately in the stable as ‘Minnie’.

Still A Star, who boasts a superb record of seven wins and five runner-up finishes from 12 career starts, was bought for just $13,000 and is now aiming to emulate the achievements of her fellow Tasmanian mare Mystic Journey, the $11,000 purchase who won the inaugural All-Star Mile in 2019.      

The two other runners aiming to produce fairy tale stories for their connections are seventh-placed Regalo Di Gaetano (8,168 votes) and The Harrovian (eighth on 7,535 votes), who will fly the flag for South Australia and Queensland respectively.  

The Harrovian, who was picked up for just $20,000 by his majority owner Tom Hedley and is now trained on the Gold Coast by the father-son team of Toby and Trent Edmonds, will be aiming to extend his winning streak to a remarkable 12 races when he resumes in the Group 3 Shaftesbury Avenue Stakes (1400m) at Flemington next Saturday, 27 February. 

Regalo Di Gaetano, named in honour of part-owner Bruno Disotto’s late father, races in the colours of the Italian flag and relied on the support of Adelaide’s passionate Italian community to get him into the race. His inclusion also ensures some sibling rivalry in the Jolly family, with David Jolly training Behemoth and his brother Richard preparing Regalo Di Gaetano in tandem with daughter Chantelle.  

With Mark Newnham’s ultra-consistent mare Greysful Glamour (fifth with 9,821 votes) representing New South Wales, and a trio of elite Victorian-based gallopers in pre-race favourite Russian Camelot (sixth with 8,460 votes), reigning Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) champion Sir Dragonet (ninth with 6,335 votes) and two-time Group 1 winner Mr Quickie (6,168 votes) also included in the top 10, every state of Australia – as well as New Zealand – is set to have a runner in the $5 million showpiece.       

“We are absolutely delighted with the record voting numbers for The All-Star Mile 2021. People from all walks of life, from casual sports fans to hardened racing enthusiasts, have really embraced the race and it is also very satisfying to see horses from every state of Australia and New Zealand represented in the top 10 this year,” said Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing.

“It seems that the public’s voting habits are changing, with many people now waiting until the final weekend of voting to make their selections and give both themselves and their chosen horse the best possible chance of winning at The Valley in three weeks’ time.

“We expected the likes of Arcadia Queen, Behemoth, Probabeel, Russian Camelot, Sir Dragonet and even The Harrovian to prove popular with the voting public, but what we perhaps didn’t anticipate was that the story of Still A Star would gain such traction in Tasmania and that Adelaide’s proud Italian community would rally round Regalo Di Gaetano in such great numbers.

“We are absolutely delighted that they will take their place in the race alongside the six Group 1 winners committed so far, and we look forward to completing the field with some very strong wildcard runners in the coming weeks, with the first one due to be handed to the winner of tomorrow’s Group 1 Futurity Stakes.”        

The Kris Lees-trained Mugatoo finished in the unenviable position of 11th on the leaderboard after attracting 2,313 fewer votes than the 10th placed Mr Quickie.

Team Hawkes’ multiple Group 1 winner Ole Kirk (3,841 votes) and Lindsay Park’s exciting three-year-old Crosshaven (3,087) were the next best finishers, but both will get a second chance to earn their place in The All-Star Mile when they line up in a red-hot renewal of the Futurity Stakes (1400m).    

The winner of tomorrow’s Group 1 contest at Caulfield will be offered a golden ticket to The All-Star Mile 2021, with the full field of 15 to be comprised of the top 10 vote-getters and five wildcard runners announced on Monday, 1 March

Should either Arcadia Queen, Behemoth, Probabeel or Mr Quickie win the Futurity Stakes, the wildcard panel will then have four choices at their discretion with the other wildcard offered to connections of the winner of the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington next Saturday.

Last year’s All-Star Mile winner Regal Power, who flew in from Perth alongside his stablemate Arcadia Queen earlier this week, will aim to catch the eye of the wildcard panel when he competes in tomorrow’s Group 2 Peter Young Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield.

The Grant and Alana Williams-trained five-year-old will again be partnered by jockey Willie Pike, who rode Regal Power to All-Star Mile glory at the same venue last year, earning the winning owner ambassador Tegan Abercrombie a cheque for $250,000.

The 10 owner ambassadors who will represent the top 10 vote-getters on All-Star Mile Raceday will be revealed next week, with the announcement of the full field and barrier draw scheduled to take place on Tuesday, 9 March.      

The 147,830 validated votes received represented an increase of more than 12,000 on last year’s total of 135,097, whilst 139,427 people cast their votes in the inaugural edition in 2019.

The top 10 vote-getters in The All-Star Mile 2021, including their trainers, is as follows with all accepting their position in the field:

  1. Arcadia Queen (WA, Grant & Alana Williams) – 15,105 votes
  2. Behemoth (SA, David Jolly) – 14,699 votes
  3. Probabeel (NZ, Jamie Richards) – 14,503 votes
  4. Still A Star (TAS, Bill Ryan) – 9,954 votes
  5. Greysful Glamour (NSW, Mark Newnham) – 9,821 votes
  6. Russian Camelot (VIC, Danny O’Brien) – 8,460 votes
  7. Regalo Di Gaetano (SA, Richard & Chantelle Jolly) – 8,168 votes
  8. The Harrovian (QLD, Toby & Trent Edmonds) – 7,535 votes
  9. Sir Dragonet (VIC, Ciaron Maher & David Eustace) – 6,335 votes
  10. Mr Quickie (VIC, Phillip Stokes) – 6,168 votes

Of the 10 horses voted in, only Mr Quickie – who will be ridden in tomorrow’s Futurity Stakes by in-form star Jamie Kah – has contested an All-Star Mile previously. He placed ninth in the 2020 edition at Caulfield, beaten 3.6 lengths, after finishing seventh in the public vote with 5,608 votes.