The All-Star Mile has attracted the strongest top 10 in its history after the first horses to gain entry into the race were announce on Friday morning.
West Australian champion Arcadia Queen lived up to her name and was the queen of the public vote, headlining the voting in a top 10 that features six individual Group 1 winners.
Arcadia Queen’s 15,105 votes put her clear of South Australian star Behemoth (14,699) and New Zealander Probabeel (14,503).
And in an encouraging sign for Racing Victoria, this year’s All-Star Mile attracted a record 147,830 votes, an increase on the 135,097 votes in 2020.
Russian Camelot, Cox Plate champion Sir Dragonet and Mr Quickie were the other Group 1 winners to make the final field.
The top 10 vote-getters in The All-Star Mile
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
Kris Lees-trained Mugatoo was the unlucky contender to finish in 11th 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).
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.
Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter, said he was “absolutely delighted” by the record voting numbers.
“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,” Carpenter said.
“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.”
And while many will talk about the superstars that have made it through to the world’s richest mile race which will be held at The Valley on March 13, there’s still a couple of underdog stories as well.
Sitting on the edge of the leaderboard when voting went into blackout mode last Friday night, Still A Star rocketed up the leaderboard to finish fourth in voting.
Raced in Tasmania by trainer Bill Ryan who is battling a terminal illness, Still A Star, known as Minnie, was a $13,000 buy for her connections.
The two other runners aiming to produce fairytale 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.
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.
“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,” Carpenter said.
“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 full field of 15 to be comprised of the top 10 votegetters and five wildcard runners announced on Monday, March 1.