Mystic to miss All-Star Mile, autumn in doubt
DEFENDING All-Star Mile champion Mystic Journey is out of this year's $5 million race and is facing an uphill battle to feature at all in the autumn.
Trainer Adam Trinder contacted Racing Victoria Stewards on Monday morning to inform them an injury-interrupted preparation would leave the Tasmanian star short of peak fitness for the March 14 running of the richest one mile race in the world.
Mystic Journey, a winner of 11 of her 17 starts, suffered a soft tissue infection in her left front limb in January having returned to work last December in pursuit of a second All-Star mile triumph.
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She spent a week recovering at an equine hospital in Ballarat and another week out of work. As a result Trinder said it would be disrespectful to the horse and the race to turn her out less than 100 per cent fit.
"I just feel now where we are placed to move forward to a Futurity (Stakes) and an All-Star mile that we are behind the Eight ball," he said.
"I don't wish to do Mystic Journey any disrespect or the race any disrespect by having her turn up only three-quarters of the way ready.
"We are still open minded if we will have targets through the autumn period.
"We will keep her in light training with the option of Sydney, Queensland and Adelaide races.
"But I am also quite open to the idea of a nice long spell and get back for the spring."
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Trinder said Mystic Journey, who hasn't raced since finishing fifth in last year's Cox Plate, was in "good health" and had recovered from the infection.
The four-year-old mare won the first ever All-Star Mile last year as part of a seven-race winning streak which also included the Group 1 Australian Guineas.
She was on the fourth line of TAB betting for this year's race before being withdrawn.
Magic Millions winner Alligator Blood remains the $6 TAB favourite to win the second All-Star Mile ahead of boom Kiwi Catalyst, which has won six of seven career starts and multiple Group 1 winner Melody Belle both at $8.
Alligator Blood is also clear top pick in voting for the All-Star Mile which will be run at Caulfield this year.
The 2165 people who voted for Mystic Journey are unable to vote again.
VORSTER CLEARED OVER FALL
Jockey Barend Vorster avoided a careless riding charge after a stewards inquiry in to a dramatic fall in the Australia Stakes at Moonee Valley last month which resulted in the death of Group 1 winner Manuel.
Vorster suffered a broken collarbone and Manuel sustained fatal injuries in the unfortunate finish to the Group 2 race won by Scales Of Justice on January 24.
Racing Victoria stewards took preliminary evidence from jockeys Dean Yendall (Scales Of Justice), Daniel Stackhouse (Ashlor) and James Winks (Begood Toya Mother) on the night of the race.
But the inquiry was adjourned until Monday as Vorster had to be taken to hospital and couldn't be interviewed.
Fronting the Racing Appeals and Disciplinary board, Vorster argued he felt movement from his inside as he tried to take a run in the straight which was stewards concluded wasn't there.
Acting chief steward Corey Waller said there were contributing factors to the fall of Manuel, including Ashlor on Vorster's inside and Begood Toya Mother both shifting.
But Vorster was told he should only persist in runs that are actually in front of him rather than hoping a run may eventuate in the future.
Waller said stewards ultimately concluded that shifts from both sides had contributed significantly to the serious fall and all jockeys including Vorster, who is yet to resume riding, avoided any penalty.