The money continues to roll in for Annabel...
The Top 10 most-voted horses for the $5 million Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile (1600m), which returns to its inaugural home at Flemington this Melbourne Autumn Racing Carnival, have been revealed with reigning Melbourne Cup winner Verry Elleegant leading the charge.
Racing Victoria (RV) and the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) have unveiled the opening 10 horses set to line-up in the 2022 The All-Star Mile field on March 19, with Chris Waller’s 10-time Group 1 winning mare Verry Elleegant attracting the most votes in the country’s sole fan-voted race.
The six-year-old daughter of Zed, who returned to racing with a mid-field finish in last weekend’s Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, received 17,112 votes.
Verry Elleegant currently pays $6 as the third elect in The All-Star Mile betting markets at Ladbrokes.com.au.
A late surge of support from the public saw the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained American import Lighthouse charge her way into the Top 10 and further secure a start eventually ending up in ninth position with the withdrawal of one of the more notable entries.
In a dramatic announcement that impacted the final numbers, the originally fifth-voted runner Probabeel was withdrawn by owner-breeders Cambridge Stud and her Kiwi trainer Jamie Richards on Wednesday afternoon.
The five-year-old Savabeel mare, whose swansong race was a first-up Group 3 Geoffrey Bellmaine Stakes victory last weekend, was retired effective immediately following the $4.35 million earner sustaining a suspensory ligament injury.
Subsequently elevated into 10th place with 3,786 votes was then the Robbie Griffiths and Matt de Kock-trained King Magnus, last start winner of the Listed Cranbourne Cup (1600m) in the mud back in mid-November.
“There is no doubting the quality of the first 10 All-Stars, who between them have won 16 Group 1 races and captured the hearts of the public,” RV’s Executive General Manager – Racing, Greg Carpenter said on Wednesday.
“As always with The All-Star Mile there will be some intriguing storylines which will play out in the countdown to, and on, race day just as we have seen throughout this afternoon with the last-minute withdrawal of Probabeel who has sadly succumbed to injury and been retired.
“The unfortunate withdrawal of Probabeel has paved the way for the 11th placed vote-getter King Magnus to win a last-minute call-up under the conditions of the race.
“Given the events of today, it will certainly be a fairy tale for his trainers Robbie Griffiths and Mathew de Kock and their large group of owners if King Magnus can prevail at Flemington on 19 March.”
Mizzen Mast mare Lighthouse is two-from-two at Flemington, the flashy grey putting her hand up for a big autumn with an eye-catching second to Tofane in the CF Orr Stakes.
Sydney’s premier trainer Waller has two horses inside the Top 10 as he looks to secure a maiden The All-Star Mile trophy with Verry Elleegant joined by her promising young stablemate Espiona (7th with 6,123 votes).
A $9 chance in the latest The All-Star Mile odds, the three-year-old Extreme Choice filly made a big impact last prep winning back-to-back races including her runaway six and a half-length Listed Desirable Stakes (1400m) success at Flemington during the Melbourne Cup Carnival.
She was beaten first-up at Randwick last Saturday as the odds-on favourite going down in a devastatingly close finish to run second to the fellow Waller-trained filly Fangirl in an exciting edition of the Group 2 Light Fingers Stakes (1200m).
Following Verry Elleegant in the votes and leading the all-in markets for the world’s richest mile race is the talented Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior-trained Shocking four-year-old I’m Thunderstruck (15,974).
Occupying the second line of betting at $5, I’m Thunderstruck has won six of his ten starts to date following a sensational spring that included a Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) win at Caulfield and success in the $7.5 million The Golden Eagle (1500m) at Rosehill.
Like many of this year’s The All-Star Mile-bound gallopers, I’m Thunderstruck kicked off his autumn in the CF Orr and ran a credible fifth.
The other standout in voting attracting 15,477 votes is the current The All-Star Mile favourite Zaaki ($4.20) for Annabel Neasham, a last start winner of Flemington’s Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes (2000m).
“Verry Elleegant, I’m Thunderstruck and Zaaki were stars of the Spring Racing Carnival, so it was no surprise to see them figure so prominently in voting and we’re pleased that these big guns have provisionally accepted their place in the $5 million Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile,” Carpenter said.
Two of the Top 10 vote-getters are returning customers with David Jolly’s South Australian star Behemoth and the Richard and Chantelle Jolly-trained Regalo Di Gaetano having finished third and 11th respectively behind Mugatoo in last year’s The All-Star Mile results.
There are still five positions in the 15-horse The All-Star Mile field up for grabs via the wildcard entries.
Two of the wildcard positions will be offered to the winners of the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on February 26 and the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on March 5.
The final three slots will be determined by a panel of RV and VRC racing officials.
2022 The All-Star Mile Top 10 Vote-Getters
- Verry Elleegant (NSW) (Trainer – Chris Waller) 17,112
- I’m Thunderstruck (VIC) (Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr) 15,974
- Zaaki (NSW) (Annabel Neasham) 15,477
- Regalo Di Gaetano (SA) (Richard and Chantelle Jolly) 8,610
- Mr Brightside (VIC) (Ben and JD Hayes) 6,316
- Behemoth (SA) (David Jolly) 6,222
- Espiona (NSW) (Chris Waller) 6,123
- Elephant (NZ) (David and Emma-Lee Browne) 5,141
- Lighthouse (VIC) (Ciaron Maher and David Eustace) 3,862
- King Magnus (VIC) (Robbie Griffiths and Matt de Kock) 3,786
Note – Probabeel (NZ) (Jamie Richards) 6,698 was withdrawn prior to the announcement of the Top 10 horses in accordance with the race conditions.
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