BENDIGO trainer Mick Sell is hoping for a late surge in support in his bid to land a spot in the field for the $5-million All-Star Mile with Penny to Sell.
The popular mare turned out for an exhibition gallop at the Bendigo Jockey Club on Friday in preparation for a return to racing later this month.
For Sell, who has been in career-best form since transferring his stable from Kyneton to Bendigo in July last year, the gallop was as much a chance to shore up some support from the Bendigo racing fraternity ahead of the close of voting for the inaugural All-Star Mile on February 18.
With public voting for the race set to enter its third week on Monday, Penny to Sell is ranked 15th.
The top 10 votegetters will be granted automatic inclusion into the race, with a further four wildcards to be awarded by Racing Victoria.
After watching regular jockey Craig Robertson put the in-form mare through her paces between races three and four, Sell said the stable had been overwhelmed by the All-Star support.
“We’re not too far out (from the end of voting), but to have a couple of thousand votes is fantastic …. you never know what might happen,” he said.
“Hopefully we can find a few more votes somewhere.
“(Penny to Sell) has come back after a couple of weeks’ break as good as ever.
“She won three races (from seven) last preparation and is definitely getting better as she gets older. We’re really proud of what she’s done.”
Should Penny to Sell gain entry to the All-Star Mile, the Sells (Mick and wife Mel) have vowed to donate $2500 each to a pair of organisations close to their hearts - the MS Society and Cancer Council Australia - from any prize earnings.
“Tegan Hearps, who is (BJC chief executive officer) Aaron’s sister, her little boy is battling leukaemia at the moment …. thankfully he looks to be in remission but is still facing another 18 months of treatment,” Mel said.
“And our young 18-year-old cousin has been diagnosed with MS, so both are worthy causes.”
Sell has earmarked a 1400m race at Flemington for Penny to Sell’s return – the scene of her last start win in December.
Meanwhile, fellow Bendigo trainer Josh Julius has scored his first winner with one of a pair of former Darren Weir-trained gallopers now under his care following Westham’s impressive 2400m win on Friday.
It was cause for double celebration for Julius, who holds a small share of ownership in the four-year-old gelding, who has won in his past two starts and is raced by the popular Roll the Dice syndicate.
“He is a horse who has been a bit of a headache for all of us, but to see him put two wins together is really encouraging,” he said.
“Obviously (as trainer) there was a little bit more pressure on, but he turned up (to my stable) very fit.
“I certainly can’t take any of the accolades for this, he was fit and ready for this.
“Credit (Jamie Mott) for the ride, to be off the fence there from barrier one before the 100m mark the first time round was unbelievable. That’s why he is a great heavy-weight jockey.”
Both former Weir horses shape as solid additions to Julius’ team, with Zaide finishing second over 1600m at Ararat on Wednesday in her first start for a new stable.
To vote for Penny to Sell, click here
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