By Hayley Wildes
The world’s richest 1600-metre race – the All-Star Mile – is set to take over Flemington Racecourse on Saturday.
Boasting a $5 million prize pool, the All-Star Mile is in its first year and is the only race in Australia where the general public play a role in choosing the final field of 14 horses.
Cranbourne-trained Mr Money Bags was one of 10 horses voted into the field, finishing 10th in voting with just over 5000 public votes. Four horses were also added to the field as wildcard entries.
Cranbourne Turf Club CEO Neil Bainbridge spoke about how the club rallied behind local trainer Robbie Griffiths and the four-year-old Mr Money Bags.
“The club got behind the horse and it’s great for Cranbourne to be represented in the All-Star Mile,” Bainbridge said.
“Robbie Griffiths is a wonderful Cranbourne person and the club is very excited for him and his team to get a horse in the field – we wish Robbie and all the connections all the best in what will be a pretty special day on Saturday.”
Having won at Flemington previously, the appropriately-named Mr Money Bags has proven himself as a strong performer at the track and while Bainbridge acknowledges the tough field he will go up against, he believes Mr Money Bags can come away with the win.
“He’s performed well there in the past and he’s in very good hands with Robbie and his team, but it’s going to be a very difficult assignment,” he said.
“When you put $5 million of prize money up, there’s going to be a number of quality gallopers in the field and that’s the case here.
“He’ll be there to give it his best shot and he’ll have everyone in Cranbourne supporting him and we’re all hopeful that the horse will perform very well.”
With plenty on the line in the richest 1600-metre race, Bainbridge highlighted the strength of the Cranbourne stables in producing world-class horses that can compete with the best of the best.
“Cranbourne has always played a pretty significant role in the major Autumn and Spring carnivals,” he said.
“At the moment there are 158 licenced trainers training out of Cranbourne and it produces around 7500 starters a year – it’s Australia’s biggest and busiest training complex.
“Nearly one in five runners at every Victorian race meeting are trained out here at Cranbourne.
“It’s great for our trainers to be able to compete in these $5 million races.”
If his name is anything to go by, Mr Money Bags will be right in the thick of the action when they turn for the Flemington straight on Saturday.