A PAIR of Bendigo region trainers is daring to dream ahead one of Australia’s newest and richest horse races.
But for Mick Sell and Brent Stanley to fulfil their lofty ambitions of gaining a start in the $5-million All-Star Mile, they will need the voting support of central Victoria’s sporting and punting fraternities.
The Sell-trained mare Penny To Sell and Stanley gelding Violate are the sole central Victorian gallopers among 130 eligible nominations for the 1600m weight-for-age race, which will be run for the first time at Flemington on March 16.
Ten of the final field of 14 starters will be chosen through a public vote, starting this Monday, with four wildcards to be chosen by Racing Victoria.
The wildcards, which can be chosen from outside the original nominations, will be announced on or before March 4.
It will be a tough field to break into for Sell and Stanley, with 35 Group 1 winners among the nominations, headed by Chris Waller’s rising superstar The Autumn Sun.
As expected, some of Australia’s top stables have heavily targeted the high-profile race.
The Lindsay Park training team of David and Ben Hayes and Tom Dabernig boast the highest number of nominations with 22, while Darren Weir has a team of 14 eyeing off a start.
Seven entries from Lloyd Williams' Macedon Lodge stable are headed by a pair of Melbourne Cup winners in Rekindling (2017) and Almandin (2016).
With the public vote commencing this Monday, Bendigo Trainers Association spokesperson Danny Curran is encouraging Bendigo racing enthusiasts to get behind his training colleagues.
“That race is going to be a helluva race and it will be interesting to see how it pans out …. It’s looking like it’s going to be a Group 1 standard race,” he said.
“It’s great Racing Victoria is putting it on and it would be great to have a Bendigo horse going around.
“(Sell and Stanley) are just like all us trainers, trying to live the dream. If people here give them enough support they’ll get a run.
“We want Bendigo horses running in town and competing against city horses as that puts Bendigo racing on the map.
“For the number of (Bendigo) horses that go to town, there’s a number who are running places or winning.
“With the number of horses we have (in Bendigo) compared to the big stables, we’re batting pretty well.”
. Penny To Sell, a winner of 10 races from 55 starts, has entered the new year in career best form, with three wins and two placings in seven starts this preparation.
Her latest start produced a win over the All Star Mile distance in a $100,000 benchmark 84 fillies and mare handicap, boosting the seven-year-old mare’s career earnings to $287,076.
Voting is open until February 18, with the 'voted in' top 10 to be revealed on February 21.
Violate has won three of 30 starts for 2018 Bendigo Cup-winning trainer Stanley, the five-year-old’s most recent win coming at Flemington in a $120, 000 Listed race in September.
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