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Miracle Mile preview

A jewel of harness racing in the southern hemisphere, the Miracle Mile. You'll find plenty of replays of Miracle Miles of yesteryear from the home of NSW trotting, the tight Harold Park circuit in inner Sydney, on YouTube, enough to keep you busy for hours. Now the race is held at the spacious Menangle and the gentler bends and longer straights lead to incredibly fast times.

Taking the reins once again to preview the great race is aspiring journalist and harness racing fanatic Tommy Hudson, @tommyhud9.

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The Miracle Mile
Menangle, 1609m
Saturday, Race 7. 2140 local time (1040 UK)
Form link Iform Pace Map and Comments

One of the highest-quality fields in recent memory will score up behind the mobile at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night, as the 2014 Miracle Mile is run and won. The final eight-runners were decided upon last weekend as Suave Stuey Lombo won the Cordina Sprint, while Guaranteed and Easy on the Eye were also given invitations.

Betting markets (quoted prices from TABCorp) and many harness racing enthusiasts believe the race is Beautide's to lose, but winning this event will be no easy feat, with the calibre of other runners meaning last year's champion will have to be at his absolute best. Here's a look at each horse and their chances;

1. Easy on the Eye NZ ($31)
D: David Morris/T: Shane Tritton


This former New Zealand pacer has had just two runs in Australia this season since joining the Tritton stable, but has still managed to score and invite to the $750000 event. The 7yo Gelding was very impressive in the Group 1 Coca-Cola Sprint, where he led for the majority before finishing third behind Beautide in a slick time. If trainer Shane Tritton's words on Twitter are anything to go by, we can expect this horse to lead early on, but whether or not he will give in to the pressure to his outside is unknown. Given the friendly draw, Easy on the Eye is a key runner in the race and should be in it for a long way.

2. Avonnova ($18)
D: Shane Graham/T: Ian Gurney


Since moving to Queensland, the improvement by Avonnova has been nothing short of incredible. Virtually unbeatable in his home state, the 8-year-old established himself as one of the country's best with victory in the Newcastle Mile in record time, a win which earned him entry into this race. Blessed with great gate speed, Avonnova will be gunning for the lead early, but he may not be able to get across the horse to his inside. The good draw however, leaves driver Shane Graham with plenty of options, so the horse should have every chance to finish in the money.

3. Beautide ($1.70)
D: James Rattray/T: James Rattray


The horse to beat. After taking out this race in 2013 with a great burst of speed, Beautide's win in March's Inter Dominion was incredibly dominant, and recent wins have many believing that Beautide is close to unbeatable. Trainer/Driver James Rattray will be aiming to settle in the first-half of the field, with the aim of over-powering his rivals in the final 400m. No matter where he is in the running, Beautide will be there at the finish, and it will take a mighty horse to beat him to the post. You'll get a better price by shopping around.

4. Christen Me NZ ($4.20)
D: Dexter Dunn/T: Cran Dalgety


With two wins and a placing from just three starts at Menangle, there is no doubt that star New Zealand pacer Christen Me relishes racing at this track and in this country, an important attribute for horses coming from overseas. As tough as he is fast, driver Dexter Dunn can either go forward or back with this versatile gelding, so it would be a very brave punter to write him off.

5. For A Reason ($7.50)
D: Luke McCarthy/T: Belinda McCarthy


The ultra-consistent For A Reason draws gate 5 for the Mile and comes off two very strong runs in the past month. A victory via the sprint-lane in $200000 QPC was followed up by a very tough 2nd in the NZ Pacing Cup, so there is no doubting that the 8-year-old is in supreme condition ahead of this race. Luke McCarthy may look to head to the marker pegs early on, saving him up for his trademark sprint in the final 400m. For A Reason placed in the Miracle Mile last year and he definitely has place claims again this weekend.

6. Chariot King *EMERGENCY 1*
D: Jim Douglass/T: John Tapp


7. Guaranteed ($10)
D: Gavin Lang/T: Emma Stewart


Despite being the youngest and least experienced competitor in the field, it is very hard to fault the record of Vicorian pacer Guaranteed. With six wins at Menangle, including a Chariots of Fire, and over $600000 in prizemoney, there is no doubting the class of this 5-year-old. With plenty of speed to his inside though, it will take a great drive and even some luck to see him winning.

8. Suave Stuey Lombo ($16)
D: Lauren Panella/T: Shane Tritton


Shane Tritton's main chance in the race scored an invite with a comfortable victory in last Saturday's Cordina sprint. Suave Stuey Lombo was able to lead all of the way, but this luxury may not be afforded to him this weekend. With the wide draw, a lot of work will need to be done early by this gelding to get into a forward position. Despite his class and recent domination at this track, it will take a career-best run to provide the Tritton/Panella combination the win they so strongly desire.

9. Bettor Bet Black *EMERGENCY 2*
D: Darren McCall/T: Darren McCall


10. Terror To Love ($26)
D: Ricky May/T: Graham Court


Just three weeks ago, Terror To Love had the hopes of a nation on his shoulders as he aimed to win his fourth NZ Pacing Cup. A disappointing fourth placing led many to believe that Australia would not get to see the famous horse this spring; however an invitation was still extended. A terrible draw and an unimpressive record on our shores (has had a shocking run of draws at Menangle) leave 'Terror' as an outsider with bookmakers, and given the class and form of all other runners, it is hard to argue. While a win for the New Zealander would be a great story, one feels he would need a small miracle to take out the mile.

Verdict: I cannot go past Beautide. He meets the strongest horses that Australasia has to offer on Saturday, but the Tasmanian's incredible toughness, coupled with his blinding speed, is enough to suggest he can win. The field is extremely tight and it is very hard to decide just who will fill the placings, however Christen Me is ultra-consistent and it is impossible to leave him out, while Avonnova has been brilliant in the past 12 months and with the good draw can run a mighty race.

Tips: 3-4-2

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