Perth-based father-daughter training duo Grant & Alana Williams quinellaed the event last year and now it is their star mare Arcadia Queen tipped to go back-to-back in the $5 million The All-Star Mile for the stable this Saturday in Melbourne despite fitness concerns.
The second edition of the lucrative weight-for-age event ran at Caulfield last autumn and saw the Williams-trained Regal Power defeat his young stablemate Superstorm in a thriller.
This season the race moves to The Valley and Arcadia Queen was the public’s top voted for runner.
She now leads The All-Star Mile odds at Ladbrokes.com.au at $3.50 after drawing ideally in barrier five, but will need to pass a veterinary inspection prior to race day.
On Thursday reports from Racing Victoria (RV) revealed the star mare had shifted a plate and, before being re-shod, was one out of five (1/5) lame in her right front leg.
It is now a nervous wait for the team with a RV vet to inspect her on Friday morning.
Should Arcadia Queen be forced to scratch out from the race in a blow for punters, her spot will go to the Lindsay Park-raced first emergency Fifty Stars.
Last year’s winning hoop William Pike is hoping to still be able to chase another big payday booked to ride the top elect second-up.
During the spring the five-year-old daughter of Pierro completed the Group 1 Caulfield Stakes Mackinnon Stakes double over 2000m, with a fifth in the Cox Plate in between, to become a three-time Group 1 winner.
Her Cox Plate run, when four lengths off the winner Sir Dragonet, is her only previous Moonee Valley assignment ahead of The All-Star Mile where Arcadia Queen is sure to appreciate getting up to 1600m.
She kicked off her campaign at Caulfield on Blue Diamond Stakes Day running a half-length back second in a thrilling edition of the Group 1 Futurity Stakes (1400m).
Saturday gives her the chance to turn the tables on her Futurity Stakes conqueror with the Jamie Richards-trained Kiwi mare Probabeel the big danger again at $4.20 in The All-Star Mile betting.
Savabeel four-year-old Probabeel has won four of her past five starts including Sydney’s Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) in the spring.
She ran seventh in the Ladbrokes Cox Plate before resuming last month with an easy with under 60kg in a Caulfield Group 3 event over 1200m.
Second-up produced the Futurity victory and now she looks to continue her purple vein of form and take her earnings up over $5 million in prize money with Damian Lane continuing associations from gate 10.
Outside of the dominant two mares the only other single-figure runner in the 15-horse The All-Star Mile field is the Danny O’Brien-trained Russian Camelot ($7.50) racing first-up from barrier two.
The lightly-raced Camelot four-year-old has won four of his 10 starts including the Group 1 Underwood Stakes (1800m) last September during his ultra-consistent spring campaign.
He went on to run second to Arcadia Queen next-up as the beaten odds-on favourite in the Caulfield Stakes before a nice third from out wide in the Cox Plate.
The All-Star Mile runs as Moonee Valley Race 8 at 4:40pm (AEDT) on Saturday, March 13, 2021.
Russian Camelot hasn’t raced since being tested over two-miles in the iconic Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday of November when only four lengths back eighth, and fresh over a mile at The Valley should suit.