Leading trainer Phillip Stokes is excited about the prospect of having another crack at the $5 million All-Star Mile – the richest mile race in the world.
The Pakenham-based trainer had Mr Quickie – a Dalziel Racing syndicated horse –in the race last year when the gelding finished ninth, beaten just 3.6 lengths.
While Caulfield hosted last year’s race, it’s The Valley’s turn for the event on Saturday, March 13 and Stokes is confident the track will suit the five-year-old Shamus Award gelding.
And the uniqueness of the race isn’t just related to the massive prizemoney on offer, but the bulk of the runners will take their place in the field on the back of a public vote.
Wylie Dalziel is obviously keen for the racing fans to get behind Mr Quickie by voting for the gelding which won the Group 1 Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield last October and then headed to the paddock a month later.
He points out that each vote for one of the nominated horses gives the fan a chance to share in $500,000 on All-Star Mile race day.
The voting for the All-Star Mile opened on Friday, January 22 and closes at midnight on February 14.
“It’s a great reason for everyone to vote for Mr Quickie,” Dalziel said.
“If you vote for him and he happens to win the race, you automatically go into the competition to win a share of $500,000. It’s a pretty simple thing to do and the end result could be a life changer.”
Dalziel said a vote for Mr Quickie just doesn’t benefit the owners, but there’s chance of winning some serious money.
The top 10 ten horses that poll the most votes qualify for the race and Racing Victoria will add to the final field with up to five wildcards, while winners of the Blamey Stakes (1600m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) earn a golden ticket into the All-Star Mile.
Dalziel said Mr Quickie would have his first-up run in the Group 1 Futurity Stakes at Caulfield on February 20.
Mr Quickie is set to kick off his All-Star Mile campaign with a trial at Geelong on Thursday.
Stokes said the $1.7 million prize-winner had some short, sharp pieces of work to prepare for the trial and they were happy with him.
“He’ll have his first race at Caulfield, a track he loves and where he is a Group 1 winner,’’ Stokes said.
“We are just training him a little bit differently now and keeping him to the shorter distances.
“The All-Star Mile looks like being a very strong race obviously but we are very happy with him.”
Mr Quickie has raced once at The Valley when he finished a close-up second in the Group 2 Moonee Valley Cup (2500m) in 2019.
Stokes believes the gelding, which has raced 25 times for 10 wins, might be better suited to the shorter bends and straight of The Valley.
“The track shouldn’t be a problem,” he said.
“At this stage we are really happy with him and he has come back in good order and is happy.”
As a backmarker, Stokes said the horse just needed luck in his races.
He hopes top jockey Jamie Kah, who rode Mr Quickie to victory with a top ride in the Toorak Handicap when she got him out of the barriers superbly, will take the ride in the All-Star Mile.
Stokes said he believes Mr Quickie needs a run going into the All-Star Mile this time around.
“It’s going to be a serious race,” he said.
Click on image below to watch Mr Quickie in Action