The Kris Lees-trained Mugatoo dug deep and rallied hard to hold off a fighting Russian Camelot in a thrilling third edition of the $5 million The All-Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley.
Brave rider tactics by two of the best hoops in the game turned this autumn’s The All-Star Mile into an exciting two-horse battle to the line as the rain came down at The Valley for the world’s richest mile race.
Jockey Damien Oliver aboard the resuming Danny O’Brien-trained Russian Camelot tried to keep his rival Hugh Bowman in a pocket, but the gap opened up for Bowman and he was able to charge home and salute by a half-length aboard six-year-old Mugatoo.
Second-up in the event, Mugatoo improved on his last start fifth to Colette at home in Sydney’s Group 2 Apollo Stakes (1400m) relishing the give in the track and the step-up to 1600m.
It was his first run at Moonee Valley since the brave fourth in last October’s Ladbrokes Cox Plate (2040m) when one off the third-placed Russian Camelot.
He was able to turn the tables on the gun four-year-old for a huge payday in The All-Star Mile results however, while third went to the hulking South Australian galloper Behemoth who finished best of the on-pace runners and just denied the shock Australian Guineas winner Lunar Fox (4th) a placing.
“It was going to be tight when he got that clear running,” winning trainer Lees told Racing Victoria after the race.
“He really rallied and found, it was great to see.
“A great concept and it’s great to be a part of it.”