All-Star Mile set for revamp
A revamped All-Star Mile in 2024 will see voting scrapped, the addition of three “win and you’re in” races and up to nine wild card selections in a bid to attract the best possible field.
While rating as a Group 1 race for the five years it has been run, the ASM has been hit with issues surrounding uncertainty of horses taking their place in the final fields. Often trainers would make late calls, including runners short in the market, meaning thousands of votes were potentially wasted.
Racing.com had been told in recent weeks of the move to scrap the voting element, which will also save RV money, but the rich owner-ambassador element of the race will continue in 2024
A review of the race by Racing Victoria in 2023 decided to remove voting, ensuring higher rating horses, not necessarily popular runners, will make the final field. RV had previously announced the prize money for the ASM will now be $4 million, down from $5 million.
A number of changes announced on Monday include “revised field selection process designed to ensure an optimum field, provide greater certainty to trainers and owners, remove frustrations around the changing composition of the field, and simplify the engagement process”.
The number of direct win and you’re in races will increase from two to eight, starting with the Rupert Clarke at Caulfield on Saturday.
Winners of two New Zealand Group 1 races – the TAB Karaka Million 3YO Classic and the Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic – both on January 27, will also qualify for the final ASM field.
The field size for 2024 will be increased from 15 to 16, meaning the final nine starting places will be decided by a panel made from RV officials and the host club.
“The All-Star Mile has exceeded the Group 1 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,” RV 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. 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,” Welsh said.
“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.”
The ASM in 2023 will be run at Caulfield on March 16 and for the first time will be run two weeks before the Australian Cup.
Details surrounding the owner ambassador selection process and the eighth win and you’re in race will be announced at a later date.
The current list of 2024 All-Star Mile ‘Win and You’re In’ races are:
G1 Neds Sir Rupert Clarke Stakes (1400m) – Caulfield, 18 November 2023
TAB Karaka Million 3YO Classic (1600m) – Ellerslie, 27 January 2024
Elsdon Park Aotearoa Classic (1600m, 4YO) – Ellerslie, 27 January 2024
G1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) – Caulfield, 10 February 2024
G1 Futurity Stakes (1400m) – Caulfield, 24 February 2024
G1 Australian Guineas (1600m, 3YO) – Flemington, 2 March 2024
G2 Blamey Stakes (1600m) – Flemington, 2 March 2024