All-Star query following Weir’s arrest
VICTORIA Derby winner Extra Brut and rising star Ringerdingding kick off their autumn campaigns this Saturday, but their pathway towards a possible start in the $5 million All-Star Mile have been clouded by allegations surrounding their trainer Darren Weir.
Weir looked to have an arsenal of chances headed to the inaugural race at Flemington on March 16, nominating 13 horses for the race, as well as Jarrod McLean's Mackinnon Stakes winner Trap For Fools.
But the raids on Weir's two properties at Ballarat and Warrnambool, as well as an ongoing police investigation into the champion trainer, has left owners fearful they may need to find new training bases for their horses.
With voting underway to determine 10 of the 14 starters in the All-Star Mile - and set to run through until February 18 - three of the current top 10 on the leaderboard are trained by Weir, who was arrested on Wednesday after raids by police and Racing Victoria integrity officials.
Group 1 winners Amphitrite (seventh with 2264 votes), Extra Brut (eighth, 2201 votes) and Land Of Plenty (tenth, 1883 votes) look well placed to win a berth on the popular vote.
But several other Weir-trained horses also feature prominently in the voting process, including Ringerdingding (12th, 1542 votes), Declares War (16th, 971 votes) and Brave Smash (31st, 572 votes).
It is not known how the current investigation could impact on the voting processes, but already rival trainers are known to have already contacted certain owners offering their services if Weir is charged.
Weir spoke about his hopes of winning the All-Star Mile only a fortnight ago, saying: "we'd love to have a few runners in the race, but to have one would be great."
"It's an exciting new concept, and you want to be involved in these big races. I'm not great on social media, so I'll be relying on the younger staff in the office to get people voting for our horses!"
He had listed Land Of Plenty, who ran a slashing third in the Australia Stakes first-up as his best chance in the race.
Extra Brut and Ringerdingding will resume in the $160,750 Group 3 Manfred Stakes at Caulfield on Saturday.
Currently, Weir's runners on the weekend are still listed under his name, though Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson said further clarification could be made in the coming days.
Weir's exciting sprinter Nature Strip will also resume on Saturday in the W.J. Adams Stakes.
ALL-STAR MILE VOTING
1. Urban Ruler 5976
2. The Autumn Sun 4454
3. Mr Money Bags 2530
4. Man of His Word 2472
5. Moss 'n' Dale 2452
6. Grunt 2381
7. Amphitrite 2264 (WEIR HORSE)
8. Extra Brut 2201 (WEIR HORSE)
9. Foundry 2062
10. Land of Plenty 1883 (WEIR HORSE)
OTHER WEIR HORSES
Ringerdingding 1542 votes, Declares War 971, Brave Smash 572, Silentz 458, Mantastic 206, Trap for Fools 201, Fifty Stars 95, Night's Watch 62, Furrion 57, Verry Elleegant 34, Kemono 9
Voting ends February 18
10 of the 14 starters will be decided by popular vote. Four wildcards will be selected by Racing Victoria