On a busy opening morning of All-Star Mile nominations, inaugural winner Mystic Journey and a pair of Group 1 stars from the Lindsay Park stable were amongst the early entrants for the 2021 edition of the world’s richest mile race.
Mystic Journey’s trainer Adam Trinder and the in-form Lindsay Park training team of Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig were quick off the mark when nominations opened this morning for the third running of the $5 million All-Star Mile, which will be held for the first time at The Valley on Saturday, 13 March.
Reigning Kennedy Oaks (2500m) heroine Personal and this year’s TAB Australian Cup (2000m) winner Fifty Stars headline a strong quintet of entries from Hayes and Dabernig, with their stablemates Crosshaven, So Si Bon and Aysar also in the running to give the powerful stable their first victory in Australia’s only fan-voted race.
Mystic Journey already has an All-Star Mile win on her glittering CV, having delivered a fairy-tale conclusion to the first ever running at Flemington in 2019. Two weeks after securing her maiden Group 1 triumph in the Australian Guineas (1600m), the mare affectionately known as ‘Betty’ put in another dominant display in The All-Star Mile to secure the $2.25 million winner’s cheque.
An injury setback earlier this year ruled her out of defending her All-Star Mile title, and her Spring Racing Carnival campaign did not quite go to plan either. But Betty boasts an impressive record at The All-Star Mile’s host venue – including victory in the Group 2 Stock Stakes (1600m) in September – meaning Trinder will head to The Valley full of confidence should his stable star poll enough votes to gain a start in the race.
Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s (RV) Executive General Manager – Racing, said: “It was very fitting that the original ‘All Star’, Mystic Journey, was the first nomination we received for The All-Star Mile 2021.
“Mystic Journey entered the history books as the first ever winner of the world’s richest mile race, and given her popularity in her home state of Tasmania and indeed across Australia, her trainer Adam Trinder and owner Wayne Roser will be confident that Betty can gain enough votes to get into the top 10.
“Similarly, the five horses entered by Lindsay Park would all be worthy runners in The All-Star Mile, with exciting three-year-olds Personal, Aysar and Crosshaven joined in the nominations list by Group 1 champion Fifty Stars and wily old campaigner So Si Bon.
“We look forward to receiving more high-profile nominations in the coming days and weeks as we build up towards the third edition of The All-Star Mile at The Valley on 13 March.”
Like Mystic Journey, Fifty Stars – who is owned by prominent businessman Gerry Ryan – seems to thrive in the autumn, with peak performances during the 2020 Festival of Racing earning him back-to-back wins at Flemington.
His victory in the Group 2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) was the prelude to a first Group 1 success in the TAB Australian Cup (2000m), where he was chased home by subsequent All-Star Mile winner Regal Power and then-reigning Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) hero Vow And Declare.
After three runner-up finishes during the Spring Racing Carnival, Personal eventually got her nose in front in the Kennedy Oaks (2500m), powering past Salto Angel and multiple Group 1 heroine Montefilia in the home straight under a typically masterful ride by Damien Oliver.
Whilst Personal is just starting out in her career, enigmatic seven-year-old So Si Bon is a veteran of 60 starts. The previously-maligned son of So You Think has been a grand campaigner for his connections, having secured more than $1.5 million in prizemoney thanks largely to his six wins and 14 minor placings.
Having gained a start as an emergency So Si Bon also ran a mighty race in The All-Star Mile 2020, finishing just over two lengths behind Regal Power.
Lindsay Park’s five-star nominations are completed by three-year-old colt Aysar, who ran Team Hawkes’ star Ole Kirk very close in the Group 1 Neds Caulfield Guineas (1600m); and last-start Group 3 winner Crosshaven. The son of Smart Missile has been a model of consistency for Hayes and Dabernig, winning five times from seven starts including the Network 10 Carbine Club Stakes (1600m) at Flemington, where he beat Aysar into second place.
Nominations for The All-Star Mile 2021 will close on Monday, 11 January, with each $500 entry fee again going to the race’s official charity, the Good Friday Appeal.
Connections of the nominated horses will then make a pitch for votes when the public voting period officially opens on Friday, 22 January, with the top 10 vote-getters set to be unveiled by RV on or before Friday, 19 February. The top 10 will be supplemented by five wildcard runners to make up the final field of 15.