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Miracle Mile preview

The greatest speed test in Australasian harness racing is the Miracle Mile. Formerly run on the dog track of Harold Park, it has turned a new leaf since it moved to the 1400m track at Menangle. It's a race which has won by many of the southern hemisphere's greatest pacers, but I'll leave the honour roll discussion to today's previewer.

Returning to the blog is harness racing fanatic and racecalling prodigy Luke Humphreys, @WorldRacingLuke.

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SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile
1609m – Mobile
Group One –AUD$750,000
Menangle
1639 local, 0539 GMT


Formguide, including replay links

1: ARMS OF AN ANGEL:
The X Factor of the field clearly, and also could be the best horse in the race, clearly, however I say “also” for the moment. She’s had the hype on her since her debut in Australia and her first “wow” performance was her Menangle debut when she stopped the clock in 1:50.7, in a CO-C4!!! The hype was confirmed a couple of runs later when she made all of the running in the G2 Hondo Grattan Stakes going 1:50.7. However last start in the Chariots of Fire was probably the biggest performance in defeat I’ve seen since Smoken Up running second in the 2010 G1 SA Cup. She galloped in the score up, losing 30m, and chased hard and was never on the pegs, and rocketed from last up the straight to get third, beaten only 13.6m by Have Faith In Me in the end. Her sectionals we’re 25.2, 28.3, 28.4 and 25.7 adding up to a 1:47.7 mile. Unbelievable to say the least. Now as long as she scores up in the desired manner, which you’d expect this time, she will lead and that’s confirmed from barrier one, even if she was the outside. However, will she be able to back up that run from two weeks ago? Is she good enough to beat Australasia’s best as a 4YO mare, let alone a 4YO colt or a seasoned mare? It’s a huge ask to say the least, but the way she went last time they will have to break 1:48 to beat her. Plus she will be on the pegs this time so as long as she backs up, who’s to say she can’t go quicker than 1:47.7?? It’s also been a fairly long campaign. I absolutely hate tipping 4YOs in FFA G1s to be honest, but this one is out of the box. If she runs up to her last run, whoever can beat her is a freak in my eyes.

2: MONIFIETH:
Has been absolutely flying to say the least of late. Had been having absolutely no luck whatsoever until last time in one of the G1 qualifiers, when he was well back and they went crazy up front and he was able to swamp them late to book his position into the field and get a much deserved win, let alone at G1 level. As consistent as he is and as good as he’s been going, I just can’t see him winning this as I don’t think his good enough but could possibly run into a place with a nice peg line run.

3: EASY ON THE EYE (EM 2): Scratched

4: BEAUTIDE:
Winner of this race in 2013 and runner up last season. Loves the track and won his qualifier easy enough last time. If you want be to be honest I think there are actually a few better than him here but his advantage is he has been targeted for one race, the Miracle Mile, this is his absolute grand final. This is his first run against true G1 horses since last year’s G1 Len Smith Mile, where he started long odds-on and had every hope behind Smolda in second. However has won two Inter Dominions at this course and even though the Tassie champ has a great record at the track, I honestly think there are a couple better than him here. Going to be a brave man and say he can’t win.

5: LORD ZIN ZAN (EM 1): Scratched

6: LENNYTHESHARK:
Australian champion who was a true classic winner of the Inter Dominion series in Perth. Three runs since that series have seen an absolute blinding second to Smolda in the G1 Ballarat Cup, a tough victory in the G1 Victoria Cup, although had nice sectionals, and was clearly and always going to be the best in the G2 Bendigo Cup last time. He has speed, toughness, a great gait, class and ability. Terrific third in last year’s G1 Le Smith Mile too, run of the race, and has won the G1 NSW Derby at this course three years ago. Certainly the forgotten horse in ways and can obviously win.

7: HAVE FAITH IN ME:
NZ star 4YO who beat the likes of Hughie Green, Smolda etc in the G1 Auckland Cup in December from the tapes over 3200m, to do what he did there only stars can do. NZ Champion 3YO last year winning both Derby’s in Christchurch and Auckland, over Follow The Stars each time. Three starts for three wins over the C&D with awesome victories in a FFA, 4YO G2 over Cruz Bromac unextended from the breeze, and a simply breathtaking win the in the Chariots last time. The scary thing there is and also to his advantage, he had some gears left, so he can obviously go quicker than 1:48.8. Can he go quicker than Arms Of An Angel, giving her a start this time? If he does, he’s an absolute superstar. Natalie Rasmussen did drive Blacks A Fake, arguably greatest harness horse ever, but this bloke from an ability perspective could be better.

8: MY HARD COPY:
WA star who has won the last two WA Cups in brilliant style. Never got into the G1 Victoria Cup but after a soft peg run in the G1 Hunter Cup he stormed home to chase Smolda and Ohoka Punter. For mine he had every possible in his qualifier and was a bit disappointing on the line for mine, however that was his third run in three weeks in a G1 and had the trip from Perth to Melbourne to Sydney. Two week freshen up would’ve done him good. Place only though for mine.

9: BLAZIN N CULLEN:
Very consistent type who was fourth in the Inter Dominion 12 months ago and got a peg run to get 2nd to Beautide in his qualifier booking him his placing in the race. Draw hurts however and even though he’s consistent this is tough.

10: BLING IT ON:
Star type who has produced so many “wow” wins in his career. Brilliant third in the G1 Ballarat Cup and then had to work too hard in the G1 Victoria Cup and was reeled in the last stride by Monifieth last time. Maybe McCarthy gave him too much to do last time? Or maybe he was a bit disappointing. Either way from this draw it’s really tough and maybe he is good enough to win but I just question if he’s up to the absolute top G1 level as good as he is. Will need luck.

Summary
To say it’s an intriguing renewal of the Miracle Mile is an understatement because it’s so interesting to say the least. Is it the strongest or most exciting field ever? I thought it was a couple of weeks ago but opinion has changed since then, as with the greatest of respect to horses like MONIFIETH (2) and BLAZIN N CULLEN (9) they probably aren’t good enough with ordinary and probably aren’t true G1 horses, which if it’s going to be the strongest ever, every horse must have a chance and be a true G1 horse. For mine, nothing will ever beat watching Smoken Up and Blacks A Fake going stride for stride the whole way in 2010, and being there trackside only made it more enjoyable. Even Popular Alm and Gammalite in 1983 was special to say the least. And from a depth of field perspective 1991 was amazing strong with Christopher Vance, Westburn Grant, Franco Tiger and Chokin. Even 2013 renewal in November had amazing depth. 2009 was memorable as well. And no one can forget Christian Cullen in 1998. Even 2001 was amazingly strong, Smooth Satin, Courage Under Fire, Shakamaker, Yulestar, Kyms Girl and Holmes D G. And the first 10 years of the race with Robin Dundee, Mount Eden and Halwes was unbelievable, Hondo Grattan and Paleface Adios in the 70’s too! I have forgotten some and could name many more but who will win this year’s race? One certainty is the race certainly has the potential to be very exciting. Have always hated tipping 4YOs in G1 FFAs but I’ve tipped them to go the Quinella here! (1) ARMS OF AN ANGEL is clearly the X Factor and possibly the best horse, (7) HAVE FAITH IN ME has done nothing wrong and is a huge chance and (6) LENNYTHESHARK is clearly the forgotten horse in all of this 4YO/Beautide talk. (2) MONIFIETH isn’t good enough but has been flying and could get a soft peg run from a good draw and can finish close without winning.

Selections
(1) ARMS OF AN ANGEL – (7) HAVE FAITH IN ME – (6) LENNYTHESHARK – (2) MONIFIETH

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