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Posted 2009-02-25 08:13:10  
Futurity Stakes kicks off world's richest race series

The world’s richest race series, the 2009 Asian Mile Challenge gets underway this weekend with the running of the $500,000 Group 1 Rokk Ebony Futurity Stakes (1600m) at Caulfield.

The four race series carries total prize money and bonuses of US$11million. Now in its fifth year, the Asian Mile Challenge also includes next months Dubai Duty Free at Nad Al Sheba in Dubai, the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong in April and the Yasuda Kinen in Tokyo in June.
Any horse which can win two legs of the series is eligible for a US$1million bonus while any horse which can win three legs nets a US$2million bonus. This bonus is shared between the owners and trainer.
Some of the world’s best gallopers were to the fore in last year’s Asian Mile Challenge, with South African star Jay Peg (pictured) winning the Dubai Duty Free before his success in the Singapore Gold Cup, while Hong Kong champion Good Ba Ba won the Champions Mile in between his back-to-back wins in the Hong Kong Mile.
Last season Good Ba Ba was rated alongside Australian Racehorse of the Year, Weekend Hussler as the world’s premier turf miler.
The well credentialed line up of contenders on Saturday includes last year’s winner Niconero, which subsequently contested the second leg of the series in Dubai, the Mick Price-trained Group 1 pair Alamosa and Light Fantastic and 2007 Tattersall’s Cox Plate winner El Segundo.
Melbourne Racing Club Chief Executive Officer Warran Brown is excited about the strength of Saturday’s race.
“With the likes of El Segundo, Light Fantastic and Niconero in the race, among others, the 2009 Rokk Ebony Futurity Stakes looms as one of the most intriguing, and exciting, in recent memory,” Brown said.
“We are excited about providing the opportunity for Australian horses to win a Group 1 race here and then take on the world’s best, just like Fields of Omagh and Niconero have done in the past few years, and travel overseas and acquit themselves well. I am confident that the winner of this year’s Rokk Ebony Futurity Stakes will also be eager to represent Australia on the international stage as they gain an invitation to run in the remaining three legs,” Brown added.
“Whilst we are disappointed not to have an international runner in the race, certain quarantine regulations around the world make it difficult to achieve this at this time,” he concluded.
2009 Asian Mile Challenge Program 


Sat 28 Feb
Rokk Ebony Futurity Stakes, 1600m
Sat 28 March
Dubai Duty Free, 1777m
Nad Al Sheba
Hong Kong
Sunday 26 April
Champions Mile, 1600m
Sha Tin
Sunday 7 June
Yasuda Kinen, 1600m
*Prizemoney quoted in US$ is subject to change.
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