Mr Brightside, Alligator Blood handed All-Star Mile wildcards

Luke Currie returns to the mounting yard on Mr Brightside (NZ) after winning the 2023 All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley. (Photo by Reg Ryan/Racing Photos)

In the All-Star Mile (1600m), defending champion Mr Brightside, is set to face his longtime rival, Alligator Blood, as both horses have secured the first two wildcards for Australia’s richest mile race.

These two dynamic competitors have clashed 11 times, with Mr Brightside currently leading the head-to-head battle by seven wins to four.

The highlight of their previous encounters was in last year’s thrilling edition of The All-Star Mile, when Lindsay Park’s stable star, Mr Brightside, emerged victorious, making history as the first Victorian horse to claim the marquee contest.

While Mr Brightside has the advantage in both the head-to-head and prizemoney standings (with $11,473,752 compared to Alligator Blood’s $8,125,525), it’s noteworthy that ‘The Gator’ holds a slightly better winning record.

Alligator Blood boasts 15 triumphs, including seven at Group 1 level, showcasing his exceptional racing prowess. However, Mr Brightside has demonstrated superior performance at Caulfield, winning three times in four starts at the venue for this year’s All-Star Mile.

The stage is set for an exciting showdown on Saturday, March 16, as the $4 million flagship race of Victoria’s autumn carnival returns to Caulfield, featuring a mix of wildcard runners and automatic qualifiers.

Adding further intrigue, the ‘win and you’re in’ races, C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) and Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, offer opportunities for other contenders.

If either Alligator Blood or Mr Brightside wins, the runner-up secures a spot in the All-Star Mile. In the event of a quinella, the third-place finisher earns their ticket, providing even greater incentive for connections to target these prestigious Group 1 contests.

The next set of ‘win and you’re in’ races will take place this Saturday (January 27) at Ellerslie during New Zealand’s lucrative Karaka Millions meeting.

The winners of the $1.5 million Karaka Millions 3YO (1600m) and the $1 million Aotearoa Classic (1600m) for four-year-olds will be guaranteed a spot in the 2024 All-Star Mile, featuring a field of 16 runners.

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