Manuel's celebrity All-Star Mile boost


Manuel winning the C.F. Orr Stakes (Image: Racing Photos)

Celebrity endorsements don’t get much bigger.

Comedy legend John Cleese issued a series of tweets on Thursday morning, urging his 5.65 million followers to vote for Manuel in The All-Star Mile.

Manuel’s owner Gary Lechte said he’d communicated with Cleese prior to last Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 C.F. Orr Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield, where his five-year-old gelding led throughout as a $21 outsider.

“I sent him an email prior to the race and said, ‘I won’t bother you unless the horse wins or runs very well,” Lechte told Melbourne radio station 3AW.

Lechte named Manuel in honour of the waiter who appeared in Fawlty Towers, a comedy co-created and written by Cleese, who was also the main actor in the 12-episode series filmed in the 1970s.

Lechte, who is a fan of Fawlty Towers, has named other horses after characters or expressions from the comedy such as ‘Otherwise Okay’ and ‘Dontmentionthewar’.

Cleese’s push to see Manuel enter The All-Star Mile field comes less than 24 hours after champion Australian cricketer Shane Warne threw his support behind Tom Melbourne.

Manuel had received 659 votes and was positioned 36th in The All-Star Mile voting as of 11am on Thursday.

Meanwhile, AFL player Heath Shaw also threw his support behind Manuel on Thursday.

The Greater Western Sydney defender, who played 173 games for Collingwood, pledged to clean a vehicle in his speedos should Manuel gain entry into The All-Star Mile field.