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Miracle Mile preview

The Miracle Mile is the big night in Australian harness racing, north of the Murray anyway. Australasia's fastest pacers on the super fast Menangle Park circuit. Harness expert Ben Krahe, @benkrahe, assesses the form with a bit of history to boot.

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The Miracle Mile

For mine this is the race of the year. Pure speed over a mile where the quickest standardbred in Australia is crowned. All the greats have won it and although this field is probably as good as we’ve seen in the past 10 years I’m not sure the winner will go down in folklore. The race has a rich history with the inaugural winner in 1967 being Robin Dundee. That was when this fabulous race was an invitation only event for six runners around the tight Glebe circuit (the halcyon days - back when they had 40-50k fans to the track). Who can forget possibly the best MM win of all time in 1971 of Mount Eden when it lost 50m or so at the start, or 1976 when the people's horse Paleface Adios won in an equal race record at the time? 1978 saw one of the toughest horses of all time Pure Steel salute whilst in 1983 Popular Alm (or Poppy as he was affectionately known) defeated Gammalite. In 1996 Kiwi invader Iraklis carried a flat tyre around Harold Park to win in an unheard of time of 1.54.2. The move to Menangle in 2009 saw time in the 1.50s being run by Monkey King. Westburn Grant, Chokin, Holmes DG, Be Good Johnny and the people's horse of the moment Smoken Up are amongst dual champions.

Say what you like about Harness Racing, this is one of the true spectacles of sport and most of the sport's supporters will be hoping 11yo Smoken Up (Trigger) can regain his best form and be the first three-peat winner of the event. I wish I was attending Saturday night for what will be a fantastic night including nine other great races but unfortunately the best I will be able to do is sip a Singha and watch jealously on the internet.

The Big One – R8 – Miracle Mile

Prepost and crowd favourite Smoken Up has drawn the pole and some may think this is perfect but I think it could be a hindrance. I expect Mach Beauty to outpace Trigger to the first turn and then hand up to the Tassie Terror Beautide. Beautide has been a marvel in recent months coming from the Apple Isle into M0 class and is now vying for favourtism for our greatest mile. I'm going to put Beautide on top as I think the lead is the place to be.

The X-Factor horse is Christen Me who can do anything on his day but I think may be a touch overrated. Terror To Love has been NZ’s best horse for the past few years but yet to produce in Australia. I'm Victorious is the token WA horse (taken the place of the injured champ Im Themightyquinn) but I don’t think has the class to win from out wide. Restrepo possibly has the best sprint in the race but has drawn the carpark and even an 11/10 drive from the master Gavin Lang (like he produced last week) cannot see him win tonight.

The other people's favourite is Frank The Tank – For A Reason who will get the perfect run from barrier two and has broken the magical 1.50 mark in recent weeks. Mach Beauty has come from winning the Golden Guitar at Tamworth in January (beating a horse I owned!) to being a Miracle Mile contender – an amazing effort by Team Tritton. In summary I think Beautide can stave off a very fast finishing For A Reason with Christen Me running a game third.

Selections – 5-2-6-10

My tips can also be found daily on twitter @benkrahe

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