Team Winx ponders ‘fairytale’ Melbourne farewell
THE new $5 million All-Star Mile is definitely on the Winx radar with connections keen for a "fairytale" Melbourne ending.
Part-owner Peter Tighe confirmed the world's richest mile race at Flemington during the autumn carnival was an attractive option for the four-time Cox Plate winner.
But a final decision on whether the super mare would chase the $2.25 million first prize cheque would be left to trainer Chris Waller.
"It fits into Winx's program really well but I'll leave it up to the boss (Waller) to decide and we'll leave it to him," Tighe said.
"It's ideal and it would be a fitting farewell for Victoria. We'd like to have that fairytale ending in Melbourne."
Over the past three years Winx has resumed racing in February and followed the same path in Sydney through the Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) then onto the Group 1 George Ryder (1500m) before culminating with the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2000m).
The inaugural All-Star Mile will debut at Flemington on March 16, a week before the George Ryder.
Racing Victoria officials contacted the Winx team on Sunday to alert them to the pending announcement about the new race which is set to shake up the autumn carnival.
Racing fans will get the opportunity to decide who contests the race through a public ballot.
A fan vote will determine 10 of the 14 runners in the weight-for-age event with RV retaining four wildcards to complete the field.
Leading Victorian trainer Darren Weir described the All-Star concept as "unbelievable".
"It's really exciting going forward," Weir said.
"There are plenty of pluses about it, it's only a $500 nomination fee to get into the race and then no more acceptance fees at all.
"So from a trainer, and more from an owner's point of view, it is very affordable given you are a chance to run for unbelievable prizemoney."
Weir said he would set a number of his stable stars for the new race, possibly instead of the Australian Cup (2000m) which is on a week earlier.
Exciting three-year-old Ringadingding, an impressive winner of the Sandown Guineas on Saturday, and Victoria Derby winner Extra Brut are likely contenders.
Waterford Crystal Mile winner Cliff's Edge, Toorak Handicap winner Land Of Plenty, brilliant three-year-old filly Amphitrite and Flemington mile specialist Iconoclasm were also possibilities.
"It fits in well with maybe a horse like Ringadingding who can run in the Australian Guineas and then another fortnight later after that this race is on," Weir said.
"The horses going on an Australian Cup path they will have to put in a bit of thought into which way they go … with that class of horse you will have to make a decision on whether you chase the $5 million race or the Australian Cup."
Tony McEvoy said the new event already had him thinking of a change in plans for one of his stable stars Hey Doc.
"I want to be a player in it," he said. "A horse of mine Hey Doc won the Australian Guineas here at Flemington over the mile. I tried to make him a sprinter last preparation but I might have to make him a miler again.
"I think the positioning of this race will suit all the participants. Racing in Victoria is going from strength to strength and I love how this concept has come together and seeing the clubs work together."
The All-Star Mile will be rotated annually between Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley with champion jockey Damien Oliver confident the race will provide a much-needed boost to Melbourne's autumn carnival.
"It's a great initiative and a great idea for Melbourne to let people understand that there is great racing in Melbourne in the autumn and not just the spring carnival," Oliver said.