My Field Marshal gets Miracle Mile

By Michael Guerin

Trainer Tim Butt knows better than to doubt his brother Anthony.

 But if he ever had a reason to it was at the top of the Menangle straight in last night’s sensational A$750,000 Miracle Mile.

 The Kiwi brothers trained and drove My Field Marshal to the fastest race mile ever outside North America when he paced 1:46.9 to grab brave Victorians Jilliby Kung Fu and Soho Tribeca, who was stunning in third.

 That tore 0.6 of a second off the old Australasian mile record set in this race two years ago but Tim admits he wasn’t worried about records mid-race.

 “To be honest I thought he had got too far back,” says Butt.

 “I know better than to doubt Ants in a big race because he has won them so many times for us before.

 “But he left that one late,” beamed Butt.

 Between the two brothers they have won almost every race that matters in Australia and New Zealand, including the Inter Dominion Pacing and Trotting Finals and a record number of Hunter Cups as well as the New Zealand and Auckland Cups.

 But Saturday night’s win was special as both men now live in Australia, having moved to New South Wales and Victoria respectively to rejuvenate their careers.

“I am still setting up a stable here (Menangle) so to win their biggest race is pretty special and I hope it will kick things along,” said Tim.

 Moving to Menangle wasn’t the only gamble Tim Butt took on the road to the winner’s circle last night as he allowed My Field Marshal to bypass both the Inter Dominion and the Hunter Cup this summer to concentrate on the Mile.

 “He has had two wind operations, the second of them only 12 months ago so the sprint races suit him far better,” said Tim.

 “So we made our decision and stuck with it, even though we knew we would have to beat Lazarus.

 “He obviously hasn’t been an easy horse to train so this is very satisfying.”
 Favourite Lazarus turned out to be a non factor in the race as he was unable to get handy early and with the leaders carving out unprecedented sectionals he was never a hope stuck three wide, finishing second last.

 He is now likely to head home for a spell.

 Jilliby Kung Fu capped a remarkable summer with his huge second while Soho Tribeca’s effort to be grabbed in the last 20m after racing parked and shooting clear at the top of the straight was remarkable.

 On Sydney harness racing’s biggest night of the year it was veteran trotting mare Maori Time who was the hottest support act, her 1:51.5 mile smashing the old Australasiantrotter’s record by 1.6 seconds.

 But a fellow Victorian wasn’t far behind, with Emma Stewart training the trifecta in the Victoria Derby headed by Poster Boy while young trainer-driver Mark Pitt won the NSWOaks with Shez All Rock.