Wildcards bring the “X-factor” to The All-Star Mile field
A trio of class-leading three-year-olds are set to add some serious ‘X-factor’ to the world’s richest mile race, after Group 1 Australian Guineas (1600m) hero Hitotsu and fellow Stakes winners Lightsaber and pinstripe received the three remaining wildcards for the 2022 Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile.
The three gallopers caught the eye of generic The All-Star Mile panel members with their efforts in the Australian Guineas at Flemington, as Lightsaber raced a brave second behind Hitotsu while Pinstriped’s unbeaten record ended with an unlucky fifth, and the trio will face off again at the same venue on Saturday March 19 in the fourth edition of Australia’s only fan-voted horse race.
With Group 1 winning mares Sierra Sue (Trent Bustin and Natalie Young) and Inspirational girl (Danny O’Brien) earning the first two Golden Tickets thanks to their respective victories at Lamaro’s Hotel Futurity Challenges (1400m) and the Issues TAB Blamey (1600m), all five wild cards have now been awarded for the 2022 All-Star Mile.
The quality quintet will aim to extend an impressive record in the race, with wildcard recipients mystical journey (2019) and Mugatoo (2021) having won two of the three previous editions of The All-Star Mile.
“After much debate over the past 48 hours, the generic panel has finally settled on a talented trio of three-year-olds in Hitotsu, Lightsaber, and Pinstriped, who will inject plenty of excitement and bring X-Factor to what is ‘already heralds as another great ground for The All-Star Mile,’ said Greg Carpenter, Executive Managing Director of Racing Victoria – Racing.
“Hitotsu was impossible to ignore after his victory in the Australian Guineas, and although he didn’t win the lightsaber and the unlucky Pinstriped, both improved their inclusion cases, especially in light of their performances. previous ones.
“Three-year-olds are posting an outstanding record in The All-Star Mile, with Mystic Journey winning in 2019 and Superstorm going powerfully close to upsetting his stable mate royal power 12 months later, and I’m confident these three are all capable of chasing that excellent record at Flemington in just under two weeks.
“With Sierra Sue and Inspirational Girl, very impressive winners of the Futurity Challenges and the Blamey Stakes respectively, also wearing very strong form lines in the richest mile race in the world, it would not be surprising to see another wildcard winner of The All-Star Mile.
Given his accomplishments to date in a brief but brilliant career, Hitotsu’s co-coaches Ciaron Maher and David Eustache will head to the All-Star Mile confident that their superstar colt can take home the lion’s share of the $5 million prize. The son of Japanese Stallion Maurice made history on Saturday when, 18 weeks after his stunning win in the Penfolds Victoria Derby (2500m), he won the Flemington Three-Year-Old Classic without a prep race.
Lightsaber (trained by Stone Moody) came a hair’s breadth away from securing automatic qualification for The All-Star Mile, after missing out on a top-10 spot by just five votes; but the son of Zustar made a compelling case for a wild card when he pushed Hitotsu all the way into the Guineas.
The $80,000 buy has already raised over $700,000 in prize money thanks primarily to his four career wins, including a dominating victory in the Production issues for group 2 HRV bulls (1400m) at Flemington – where he beat a classy two-year-old field including Hitotsu.
Pinstriped, who burst onto the scene with three successive wins for Enver Jusufovic culminating in the Group 3 CS Hayes Stakes (1400m), would surely have finished closer to Hitotsu in Flemington last Saturday if the street boss gelding did not endure a torrid run in transit.
A ticket for the flagship occasion of Victoria Race Festival would have gone a long way in cushioning the blow from his shrewd coach, with Jusufovic now hoping his stable star can fix that disappointment and land a $2.25 million salary.
In other news today, the Maher and Eustache stable officially retired this afternoon Headlight of The All-Star Mile, as she will pursue other targets against her own gender this fall.
The withdrawal of the imported mare follows the forced withdrawal of Elephant from the race, her place being then offered to Converge (trained by Gay Waterhouse and Adrian Bott), who rose to the top of the provisional All-Star Mile emergency list thanks to the prize money he earned by winning the Group 1 Randwick Guineas (1600m) last Saturday.
After confirming whether or not the Waterhouse-Bott stable will run the son of frankel in The All-Star Mile, a decision will then be made on which horse will replace Lighthouse in the lineup. The second provisional emergency behind Converge is currently Colettethe multiple Group 1 winning mare of Godolphin and formed by James Cummings.
The progressive field for The All-Star Mile, beginning Monday afternoon, March 7, 2022, is as follows:
1. I’m thunderstruck (VIC) (Mick Price and Michael Kent Jnr)
2. Zaaki (New South Wales) (Annabel Neasham)
3. Regalo Di Gaetano (SA) (Richard and Chantelle Jolly)
4. Mr Brightside (VIC) (Ben and JD Hayes)
5. King Magnus (VIC) (Robbie Griffiths and Matt de Kock)
6. Cascadian (New South Wales) (James Cummings)
7. Tofane (VIC) (Mike Moroney)
8. Ice bath (New South Wales) (Brad Widdup)
9. Sierra Sue (VIC) (Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young)
ten. Inspirational girl (WA) (Danny O’Brien)
11. Hitotsu (VIC) (Ciaron Maher & David Eustache)
12. Lightsaber (VIC) (Peter Moody)
13. pinstripe (VIC) (Enver Jusufovic)
14. Emergency replacement for Elephant (NZ) – TBC
15. Emergency Replacement for Lighthouse (VIC) – TBC
The final field for The Seppelt Wines All-Star Mile 2022, including final emergencies, will be confirmed on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 with the final acceptances to be taken this morning and the barrier draw will take place this afternoon at Flemington Racecourse.