Inspirational Girl books a spot in the All Star Mile

Inspirational Girl (NZ) ridden by Damian Lane wins the Blamey Stakes at Flemington. (Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

The Danny O’Brien-trained Inspirational Girl has qualified for the $5 million All Star Mile after taking out the Group 2 Blamey Stakes at Flemington on Saturday.

The six-year-old mare, who was having just her third start for the O’Brien stable, was slow to begin before jockey Damian Lane was able to find the rail and push up to a midfield position.

Race-favourite Zaaki took the lead a little over 100m out after being held up in the early part of the straight. The Annabel Neasham-trained gelding looked to have had the race won after bursting through a gap, but Inspirational Girl was able to get going late to power over the top of the Sydney-trained galloper to score by 0.2 of a length.

O’Brien had some worrisome moments while watching the race though.

“It looked a bit sticky for a while,” O’Brien said in a post-race interview with

“I would have preferred he was peeling out at about the 600m.

“She probably took a bit closer position than what we thought and because of that she was three back and on the fence, and in a sticky spot.”

“But she got out in time and she’s ran down a top-class horse in Zaaki, which is very hard to do.”

O’Brien seemed confident heading into the All Star Mile (1600m) at Flemington on March 19.

“She hasn’t done a lot of racing over the last year and a half, so she’s a mare that should improve.

“Two weeks to the All-Star Mile is just a perfect step for her.

“We’ll certainly have no excuses for her on All Star Mile Day.”

Lane was quick to realise the positives after being slowly away in the Group 2 event.

“She just dwelt at the start a little bit worse than I’d hoped,” he said.

“What initially would normally work against a horse, really worked for me because I was able to nip over and find the back of Zaaki and get a great run from there.”

Lane had to get down to an uncomfortable 53kg to ride the mare.

“Yeah it’s a stretch, just lucky that Danny was onto it a few weeks out,” said Lane when asked how difficult it was to get down to the required weight.

“Had he waited till Monday to realise, I would’ve been no hope.

“Been a tough few weeks, but rewarding when we can get in a race like the All Star Mile.”

Lane was confident the former Western Australian galloper could be a real threat in the $5 million event.

“She just has to have improvement in her.

“Everything’s she’s done from her first-up run until now she’s improved, so if she can improve again, she’s in the race.

Inspirational Girl is a $5.50 second-favourite on Sportsbet, behind Zaaki who is favourite to take out the All Star Mile in two weeks’ time.

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