Fifty Stars holding off stablemate So Si Bon (Image: Racing Photos)
Fifty Stars and the Tasmanian filly Mystic Journey were the big firmers in All-Star Mile markets after both took their 11th-hour opportunities to force their way into the final mix for the $5 million race by winning crucial lead-up races at Flemington on Saturday.
Neither horse is a confirmed All-Star Mile runner as yet with Racing Victoria set to announce wildcard recipients on Monday but Mystic Journey moved to second favourite behind Alizee for the inaugural race on March 16 after thrashing the colts in the Australian Guineas while Fifty Stars slotted in after striking his best form in the Blamey Stakes.
Fifty Stars' win at just his second run for the Lindsay Park operation headlined a triumph for the stable, which achieved a trifecta in the race when Fifty Stars held off a late surge from So Si Bon by a half head, with a length-and-three-quarters to chance Cool Chap in third place.
RV has indicated the winner of the Blamey over the All-Star's 1600-metre course would warrant serious consideration for elevation into the field.
Punters and bookmakers moved swiftly after the narrow but impressive victory with Fifty Stars suddenly in All-Star calculations after $51 had been bet before voting had closed late last month.
"I think it was a great All-Star run," a delighted David Hayes said. "Not only from the winner but from So Si Bon too."
WATCH: Fifty Stars' win
Nick Williams was delighted with the barnstorming finish for fourth by Johannes Vermeer, who was having his first start since finishing second to Rekindling in the 2017 Melbourne Cup.
"They went steady through the middle stages but he still ran home strongly," Williams said before indicating the horse was likely to race next in the $700,000 G1 Ranvet Stakes (200m) at Rosehill on March 23.
The Macedon Lodge stable will be well represented next week in the G1 Australian Cup with Melbourne Cup winners Almandin and Rekindling to run alongside The Taj Mahal.
Trainer Tony McEvoy said the seven-day back-up did not suit Manuel, who went too hard in front while Lucy Warwick commented that she felt Western Australian star Material Man raced flatly before struggling into 12th place.