Star Queensland three-year-old Alligator Blood has streeted the opposition to top the polling for the second edition of the $5 million All-Star Mile.
And his connections are hopeful the gelding can also come out on top when the rich race is run at Caulfield on March 14.
The top 10 vote getters who have secured places in the All-Star Mile were announced on Thursday at Caulfield, with skydivers wearing the jockey silks of the respective horses landing on the racecourse lawn to reveal the contenders.
The David Vandyke-trained Alligator Blood, winner of nine of his 10 starts, received 18,502 public votes, well clear of New Zealand champion mare Melody Belle who polled 11,898.
The other eight horses to be offered places through the public vote are Kolding, Star Missile, Dalasan, Catalyst, Mr Quickie, Aristia, Heart Of Puissance and Super Seth.
Alligator Blood’s part-owner Allan Endresz said it was a privilege for his horse to top voting.
“We’re blessed that he’s there and to have the public to support him in that way and importantly without any inducements or anything like that, it means a lot to us,” Endresz said.
“To see that support has been incredible.”
Endresz said he and his aunt and uncle, Jeff and Robyn Simpson, who part-own the gelding, would select one of Alligator Blood’s voters to spend the $5m All-Star Mile day with them and share five per cent of the prize money.
“That’s a reward, rather than an inducement, for the lucky people or family that get that,” he said.
A total of 135,097 eligible votes were received, around 4000 less than last year.
Racing Victoria will donate $1 for every vote to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal.
Five wildcards are still to be announced to make up the 15-horse field, with the winners of Saturday’s Futurity Stakes and Saturday week’s Blamey Stakes to be offered spots if not already in the field.
Owner ambassadors for the top 10 horses will be announced around March 1.
Racing Victoria’s Greg Carpenter said he was delighted with the quality of the top 10, which includes six individual Group One winners.
“And when you consider one of the horses in the field who isn’t a Group One winner yet is Alligator Blood, it speaks to the depth of quality,” Carpenter said.
“With that 10 plus the ability to allocate five wildcards, it’s just going to be a sensational field.
“We understand that there are some of the horses in the race, the three-year-olds, every one is committed and locked in at the moment but that may change.”
The top 10 horses and their votes:
1 – Alligator Blood (Qld, trainer – David Vandyke) – 18,502
2 – Melody Belle (NZ, Jamie Richards) – 11,898
3 – Kolding (NSW, Chris Waller) – 10,731
4 – Star Missile (Vic, Greg Eurell) – 10,439
5 – Dalasan (SA, Leon Macdonald and Andrew Gluyas) – 10,020
6 – Catalyst (NZ, Clayton Chipperfield) – 7,480
7 – Mr Quickie (Vic, Phillip Stokes) – 5,608
8 – Aristia (Vic, Mathew Ellerton and Simon Zahra) – 5,409
9 – Heart of Puissance (Vic, Ciaron Maher and Dave Eustace) – 5,212
10 – Super Seth (Vic, Anthony Freedman) – 5,154