The All-Star Mile is a new race created by Racing Victoria worth $5million, to be run over 1600m at Flemington Racecourse in March. The race was founded on a unique concept, whereby Australian horse racing fans vote for their favourite horses to gain entry into the final field, with the top 10 vote-getters securing a run. In addition to the 10 horses voted in, four wildcard slots are up for grabs, which are determined by Racing Victoria. Four emergencies are confirmed when final acceptances are taken for the race.
Furthermore, the race gives people who voted a chance to win a share of $500,000. 10 Owner Ambassadors are chosen at random from eligible voters to represent each of the top 10 All-Star Mile finalists. Another Owner Ambassador will be picked through a competition run by The Herald and Weekly Times and a further three Owner Ambassadors will be randomly drawn from eligible voters during the second chance draw for three Wildcard horses.
The 14 selected Owner Ambassadors are eligible to win a share of $500,000 of prizemoney, depending on where their horse finishes in the All-Star Mile. The Owner Ambassador of the winning horse receives $250,000.
In 2019, the All-Star Mile carries $5 million in prize money with the winner receiving $2.25 million, making it the richest mile race on turf in the world. Every runner is guaranteed $90,000 for completing the course, with payment from sixth down to 14th receiving $90,000 just for turning up.
The inaugural running in 2019 has certainly created some controversy with several lower-class horses contesting the race due to their popularity – or massive ownership numbers! Urban Ruler was the lowest-rated horse with a handicap rating of 75. He had run 13th and 11th at Doomben and Eagle Farm prior to the All-Star Mile, but his 800-odd owners ensured he gained entry to the race. Mr Money Bags (handicap rating of 82), Balf’s Choice (90) and Man Of His Word (90) were other controversial inclusions for the 2019 edition; each horse was in the top 10 voting and guaranteed a start in the race, regardless of their form.
The four wildcard entries ensured a bit more quality to the race, with Group 1 winners Happy Clapper, Hartnell and Mystic Journey added to the final field. Three-year-old gelding Hawkshot received the final wildcard after running 2nd in the Australian Guineas, which created another big talking point. The horse wasn’t originally nominated for the race, but the VRC had the power to include a runner from outside the original list of nominations for the race.
In total, the votes for the race tallied nearly 140,000. Balf's Choice topped the votes with 9793.
Only time will tell if any changes are made to the All-Star Mile following the performances of some of the lower-class horses. The current minimum rating to be eligible for the race is 70, which is consistent with Australian Group 1s, but it’s likely that changes will be made to increase the minimum rating so to ensure better quality horses make the final field.
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