Champion Perth jockey Willie Pike shies away from public barrier draws for big races preferring to find out a day or two later what his horse has drawn.
But with owner Bob Peters in Perth and co-trainer Grant Williams at the Sutton Grange training complex of Brent Stanley attending to Arcadia Queen following her gallop at The Valley on Tuesday, the all-important barrier draw for Saturday’s All-Star Mile at The Valley was left to Pike.
Pike may be called on more often by Peters and Williams after selecting gate five for Arcadia Queen in the $5 million 1600m race.
TAB reacted to news, shortening Arcadia Queen into $3.20 favourite as Peters, Williams and Pike chase a second All-Star Mile win after scoring with Regal Power last year at Caulfield.
New Zealand mare Probabeel (NZ) is the $4 second pick after drawing gate 10 while Russian Camelot is on the third line after coming up with barrier two.
Damien Oliver partnered Russian Camelot (IRE) in a gallop at The Valley on Tuesday and said the entire was ready for a shot at Australia’s only fan-voted race.
He said Russian Camelot had grown taller since his spring campaign and while happy enough with gate two, he would have preferred being drawn out a little further.
“It’s a bit better than the 14 we drew in the Cox Plate,” Oliver said.
“He was one of the few horses in the Cox Plate to race on the pace and keep going.
“I think the mile is a good trip for him to kick off in.”
The All-Star Mile is a mini–Cox Plate, with five of the first seven home in the weight-for-age championship last spring set to clash again.
Sir Dragonet (first), Russian Camelot (third), Mugatoo (fourth), Arcadia Queen (fifth) and Probebeel (seventh) will battled it out on Saturday.
Greg Carpenter, Racing Victoria’s Executive General Manager – Racing, said he was delighted with the make-up of Saturday’s field.
Of the 15 runners, nine are Group 1 winners including Mr Quickie ($21) and Streets Of Avalon ($67) who are set for their second shots at the race having finished ninth and 12th respectively last year.
“It is not an elitists race, it only costs $500 to run,” Carpenter said.
Arcadia Queen and William Pike, picture Racing Photos