As the old saying goes – when you work hard, you make your own luck.
That could be true for Victorian trainer Shane Nichols ahead of the $5 million All-Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Nichols was originally going to run his veteran sprinter Streets Of Avalon (jockey Zac Spain) in Sydney this weekend.
But – after not making the cut with the public voting for the top 10 runners – his seven-year-old was accepted as Tuesday’s replacement for Australian Guineas winner Hitotsu, a late withdrawal.
And if that wasn’t enough, the big outsider paying $101 to win with horse racing betting sites drew a good lane – barrier three.
“He galloped brilliantly this morning (Tuesday) and drew a perfect gate,” Nichols told horsebetting.com.au.
“It’s interesting – the fancies have all drawn a little awkwardly. I’m Thunderstruck (trainers Mick Price and Michael Kent Jr) in one is probably a little tricky, and Zaaki (Annabel Neasham) in 15 is also a little tricky.
“We’re realistic. We were originally going to go to Sydney this weekend, but we don’t want to go to a wet track.
“We’ll stay in Melbourne and run in the All Star Mile, and then he’ll go to Sydney for the All Aged (Stakes at Randwick over 1400m on April 16) and then he’ll go up to Rockhampton and run in The Archer (on May 7), which is a slot race like The Everest.
“That race will be just under half a million dollars. They’re his next three runs.”
Nichols said Streets Of Avalon – originally an emergency – deserved his luck after being confirmed as a runner on Tuesday.
And with that, any further luck which might come the veteran sprinter’s way over his next three starts in lucrative races.
“This horse has been a wonderful servant – he’s won over $2 million and two Group 1s for us,” Nichols said.
“So he’s done his job. He’s a seven-year-old now. He’s not getting better, but he’s been a wonderful horse for us.
“Our connections have formed pretty close bonds and friendships, with this horse now having 60-odd starts. He’s just a lovely horse.”
While the prizemoney on offer is an amazing proposition for the Nichols stable, he wasn’t getting too far ahead of himself at the thought of what would be a fairytale victory at Flemington.
“Ten per cent of three million dollars would be pretty handy. (But) we’ve won a few Group 1 races and it probably doesn’t rate as highly as those,” he said.
“But it would be significant if this horse was to win because of the fact he’s already ran in three of them – this is his third one.
“In fairness it probably doesn’t rank up there with Group 1s.”
Nichols said his instructions be Spain – in a high-class field – will be simple.
“He (Streets Of Avalon) is questionable over the mile so don’t spend any (unnecessary) petrol, and give him a soft run in the mid-stages,” Nichols said.
“They’re all high-quality gallopers on the up. Every year there’s a new batch of top-liners who you have to race against.
“It’s good to see some initiative from Racing Victoria where there’s good betting turnover to get younger people more involved in racing.”
2022 All Star Mile Final Field
The 2022 All Star Mile field has been finalised and it promises to be a cracking race.
|1||I’m Thunderstruck||Mick Price & Michael Kent Jr||Jye McNeil||1||59kg|
|2||Zaaki||Annabel Neasham||Jamie Kah||15||59kg|
|3||Cascadian||James Cummings||Damien Oliver||6||59kg|
|4||Streets Of Avalon||Shane Nichols||Zac Spain||3||59kg|
|5||Lunar Fox||Paul Preusker||Craig Newitt||14||59kg|
|6||King Magnus||Robbie Griffiths & Mathew de Kock||Lachlan King||5||59kg|
|7||Callsign Mav||Danny O’Brien||Ben Allen||10||59kg|
|8||Mr Brightside||Ben & JD Hayes||Craig Williams||2||59kg|
|9||Icebath||Brad Widdup||Fred Kersley||9||57kg|
|10||Tofane||Jamie Mott||Mike Moroney||7||57kg|
|11||Sierra Sue||Trent Busuttin & Natalie Young||John Allen||13||57kg|
|12||Inspirational Girl||Danny O’Brien||Damian Lane||4||57kg|
|13||Captivant||Peter & Paul Snowden||Patrick Moloney||11||56kg|
|14||Lightsaber||Peter Moody||Luke Nolen||12||56kg|
|15||Pinstriped||Enver Jusufovic||Michael Dee||8||56kg|