More Kiwi flavour is set to be added to Melbourne’s A$4 million All-Star Mile (1600m) with the latest announcement out of Racing Victoria.
The rich feature has been in existence for five years, with the public voting system deciding the make-up of the field, but after a review conducted this year, public voting will be scrapped in favour of the addition of three “win and you’re in” races and up to nine wild card selections.
The number of direct win and you’re in races will increase from two to eight, including two in New Zealand – the TAB Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) and the Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic (1600m) at Ellerslie on January 27.
“The All-Star Mile has exceeded the Group One benchmark in each of its five runnings and moving to a mix of Win and You’re In Races and discretionary wildcards, we are confident it will go to yet another level,” Racing Victoria General Manager of Racing Matthew Welsh told racing.com.
“Simplifying the competition and removing voting results in a cost saving that can be redistributed in other areas, including returns to owners, trainers and jockeys.
“We’re revamping the 2024 All-Star Mile to provide greater certainty for connections, reduce frustrations around the changing composition of the field, and simplify engagement for fans.
“We want to attract the best field possible and ensure the race connects perfectly with the Australian Cup which will be run a fortnight after the All-Star Mile for the first time in 2024.”
The push to connect New Zealand racing comes as racing officials ramp up their efforts to showcase Victorian racing over the 2023 Spring carnival.
“We are excited to introduce two New Zealand Win and You’re In races,” Welsh said. “Kiwi horses have shown their wares on the Australian stage over multiple generations, but especially in the last 12 months with the likes of Imperatriz, Legarto, Prowess and Sharp ‘N’ Smart headlining a swathe of New Zealand runners to taste success in Australia.
“Additionally, New Zealand is a most important market for Victorian racing and one we are keen to grow. Australian racing is broadcast in the twilight window, making it an attractive proposition for New Zealand fans and punters.”
– NZ Racing Desk