By Hayley Wildes
The All Star Mile is the only horse race in Australia where the general public plays a role in choosing the final field of horses, and has a chance to win $250,000 along the way.
The world’s richest 1600-metre race, boasting a $5 million prize pool, is in its first year and will be held at Flemington Racecourse on 16 March.
There are three locally-trained horses to get behind.
Main Stage, O’Tauto and Mr Money Bags are all trained locally at the Cranbourne Turf Club and are among the nominated horses.
Main Stage, trained by Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young at Cranbourne, is part-owned by AFL superstar Dustin Martin and currently sits 20th in voting with just over 1200 votes.
O’Tauto is trained by Cranbourne-based trainer Greg Eurell, who has Olympic experience in equestrian, and currently sits 37th in voting with just over 500 votes.
Perhaps the pick of the locals is Mr Money Bags. Trained by Cranbourne-local Robbie Griffiths, Mr Money Bags is has over 3700 votes to sit seventh.
Griffiths spoke about Mr Money Bags and highlighted his strong form at Flemington.
“He’s a specialist at Flemington and he’s won a three-year-old feature in the Silver Bowl over 1600 metres, so we thought he was the right candidate to have a crack at the All Star Mile,” he said.
“We’ve all got our fingers and toes crossed that he sneaks into the field and if he does, I’m sure he’ll give it a hell of a run because he’s got such a good record at Flemington.”
Griffiths also spoke about the All Star Mile concept and the interest it has created.
“It’s incredibly exciting,” he said.
“The whole idea of the All Star Mile was to get a lot of people involved, talking and thinking about racing, so that’s why it’s an unusual structure where the public can vote in runners.
“Having that opportunity has enabled racing to have so much positivity in terms of talking about who’s going to get in and are they going to be good enough?”
Having grown up in Cranbourne and trained more than his fair share of horses at the Cranbourne Turf Club, Griffiths spoke about the world-class facilities that have helped him tremendously.
“We’re very lucky at Cranbourne and I’m probably biased, but I think it’s the best facility in Australia,” he said.
“It’s got so many great training tracks, natural sand tracks and all sorts of things – it’s just got absolutely everything you need and we’re close to all the main tracks, so it’s brilliant.”
Voting is crucial, with 10 out of the 14 horses to be selected by popular vote and the remaining four will be wildcard horses selected by Racing Victoria. To vote, head to allstarmile.com.au – voting closes on 18 February at 12pm.