Racing Victoria (RV) has unveiled the first 10 ‘owner ambassadors’ who will now go in the running to win a share in $500,000 on All-Star Mile Raceday at The Valley on Saturday, 13 March.
One owner ambassador has been chosen at random from the voters for each of the first 10 horses selected by more than 147,000 Australian and New Zealand residents to compete in the third annual All-Star Mile.
With a first prize of $250,000 for the owner ambassador whose horse wins the All-Star Mile, and a cheque for $10,000 even if their All-Star finishes last, there will again be life-changing sums of money on offer in Australia’s most unique horse race.
Each of the owner ambassadors will be hoping to follow in the footsteps of young single mother Tegan Abercrombie who bought a new car and assembled a house deposit after pocketing $250,000 last year thanks to Regal Power.
Cheryl Shillabeer was one of the 15,105 people who cast their vote for popular Western Australian mare Arcadia Queen, partly as Willie Pike is her favourite jockey. The mother-of-three and long-time cleaner at Port Augusta Hospital in South Australia will now have 250,000 reasons to cheer on the ‘Wizard of the West’ as the jockey chases back-to-back wins in the world’s richest mile race.
Mornington Peninsula (Vic) chef Adam Parker lost his job during the COVID-19 pandemic, but his fortunes have certainly turned around after he was chosen as the owner ambassador for Sir Dragonet. The 34-year-old father-of-two recently started a new job as a head chef on the Peninsula, and after trainer Ciaron Maher came into the restaurant he wisely decided to cast his All-Star Mile vote for the reigning Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) champion.
Mr Quickie will line up in his second All-Star Mile after securing the final spot in the top 10 and Ferntree Gully’s (Vic) Paul Hodson, who works for Stonnington Council, will be hoping Jamie Kah can work her magic on the two-time Group 1 winner – not least as All-Star Mile Raceday coincides with his wedding anniversary.
For the first time this year fans were allowed to cast a second vote if their original selection was withdrawn from the entries during the voting period, and 32-year-old Newcastle (NSW) resident and expecting father of his second child Benjamin Seysener made the most of that opportunity. Having originally chosen Verry Elleegant, the racing fanatic switched allegiance when she was withdrawn from the voting and promptly jumped on board another Group 1-winning mare in New Zealand star Probabeel.
Bill Ryan’s aptly named Still A Star, who resumed with a dynamic win at Launceston last week, was undoubtedly the surprise package of the voting period. The pint-sized mare known as ‘Minnie’ will be represented on All-Star Mile Raceday by St Helens resident Lisa Dean-Hyam who, like so many Tasmanians, was captivated by the story of the $13,000 battler taking on some of Australia’s best gallopers.
Still a Star is a beautiful mare and the same could be said for Mark Newnham’s flashy grey, Greysful Glamour, who flies the flag for New South Wales in the All-Star Mile and clearly caught the eye of her owner ambassador, Charoah Evans.
The mother-of-two would spend her winnings on renovating her Coffs Harbour (NSW) home, but if the Danny O’Brien-trained Russian Camelot can add The All-Star Mile to an already glittering resume his owner ambassador Julian Kaldawi from Lower Templestowe (Vic) plans to pay off his mortgage and fly his father home to Melbourne from Greece.
Regalo Di Gaetano generated plenty of media coverage in South Australia, thanks chiefly to his passionate Italian ownership group, and after hearing the horse's back-story on radio, Adelaide resident Ryan Weightman decided to cast his first ever All-Star Mile vote for the five-year-old gelding.
South Australia’s other All-Star Mile representative, David Jolly’s dual Group 1 winner Behemoth, who finished just behind Arcadia Queen in the public vote with 14,669 votes, will be represented by Ray Newton from Narracan in Victoria.
The Harrovian also proved a very popular pick with All-Star Mile voters, particularly in Queensland where he has won his last 11 races, and former strapper Emily Ridler of Mudgeeraba (Qld) will hope ‘The Big H’ can continue his winning streak after she was chosen at random as his owner ambassador.
A further four owner ambassadors will be revealed in the coming days, once the wildcard panel has made their selections and a horse has been allocated to their wildcard partner: Newscorp, Ladbrokes, Southern Cross Austereo and Tabcorp.
One lucky racegoer who attends the meeting and enters RV’s raceday competition will be drawn at random to become the owner ambassador of the final wildcard runner, giving fans even more reason to head to The Valley on 13 March.
The field of 15 All-Stars will be completed tonight when the five horses allocated wildcards are announced by RV live on Racing.com’s After The Last program at 6.45pm (AEDT).