Australian Bloodstock is not leaving any stone unturned in their quest to get Nugget into this year’s All-Star Mile.
The syndicators are encouraging the gelding’s fans to vote him into the 1600-metre weight-for-age event at Moonee Valley on March 18, but will also give him the chance to earn his spot in the field, starting with this Saturday’s $750,000 Group 1 Orr Stakes (1400m) at Sandown.
All-Star Mile voting opened on Monday and while Australian Bloodstock’s Jamie Lovett said the $5 million event was the major autumn goal for Nugget, gaining a start is the first objective.
“We’ve had two horses we thought were clear All-Star Mile horses and neither of them got voted in,” Lovett said.
“That was Mugatoo and Top Ranked. Mugatoo won the race and Top Ranked won an Epsom and they both couldn’t get voted in. Mugatoo got a wild card and the other horse missed out altogether.
“He has probably got to win one of these Group 1s to put himself there so people vote for him because he hasn’t got the profile yet to get a wildcard.”
The 10 horses who attract the most votes from the public make up most of the All-Star Mile field with three wildcard runners to be selected by Racing Victoria and a further two wildcards allocated to the winners of the Futurity Stakes and Blamey Stakes.
Nugget, a six-year-old son of Siyouni, had his first 11 starts in the UK but has quickly endeared himself to Australian punters, winning three on end as a short-priced favourite after a Melbourne Cup Day second placing at Flemington at his Australian debut.
He has not started since winning the Listed Lord Stakes (1700m) at Sandown on Boxing Day but worked home stylishly under light riding to be narrowly beaten in a 1000m jumpout at Cranbourne last Monday.
“He trialled super the other day,” Lovett said.
“I’d say he will go into the C F Orr and that will tell us where he fits in.
“If he is the horse I think he is, he will be very effective in the Orr at seven (furlongs) and then he may go onto the Futurity and into the All-Star Mile.”
Nugget was one of 16 entries for the Orr Stakes with Group 1 winners I’m Thunderstruck, Mr Brightside, Tuvalu, Jacquinot, Fangirl and Cox Plate placegetter El Bodegon among his potential rivals in Australia’s first Group 1 race of the year.
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