A G’s White Socks ace barrier draw gives him winning chance

By Michael Guerin

Kiwi trainer Greg Hope hasn’t ruled out trying for an all the way win with A G’s White Socks in tonight’s A$1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle.

And even if driver Greg Sugars doesn’t go all in, A G’s White Socks ace barrier draw has propelled him to near the top of the winning chances in the great race.

A G’s White Socks has had one of the crazier seasons in recent harness racing history, looking to be on the open class scrap heap in the spring until a dramatic change of diet saw him wildly turn his form around during the Auckland Inter Dominions.

He then returned to his South Island home and was the horse Ricky May was driving when the champion horseman had his medical incident and all but died at Omakau on January 2.

Since then A G’s White Socks has travelled to Australia, won the Ballarat Cup and was a brave third in last week’s Mile prelude before securing the ace for tonight and Hope says his team won’t be passive.

“A lot of times over here we think the Australian horses have far better gate speed but I am sure he can hold his own out of the gate with them,” says Hope.

“And if he does that I would be happy for Greg to stay in front.

“He was third here last week but lost nearly two lengths on the home bend when he was touching a knee because he wasn’t used to going the speeds they go here wider on the track.

“That will be better up against the marker pegs and he has definitely improved since last Saturday, they usually do with a run on this track.” If A G’s White Socks does trail the most likely leader is former Auckland pacer King Of Swing and his recent racing pattern suggests A G’s White Socks will get his chance.

King Of Swing is a very fast beginner and driver Luke McCarthy has indicated he would like to stay in front but when he has led and won lately he has also drifted off the marker pegs. With Menangle having no passing lane a repeat of that tonight could give A G’s White Socks the last shot at him.

There are plenty of winning chances in one of the more even Miracle Miles of the last decade, with My Field Marshal another solid each way chance following what should be a 1:48 tempo.

The other Kiwi in the race is fairytale story Bettor’s Heart who probably can’t win but has a very satisfied trainer in Peter Bagrie after she won her way into the race with a group one victory last Saturday, two years after Bagrie survived surgery to remove a brain tumour.

In a rarity, New Zealand has no horses in the A$200,000 NSW Derby tonight but exceptional mares Our Princess Tiffany and Belle Of Montana continue their rivalry earlier in the programme.

And the Wallis/Hackett pair of Temporale and Massive Metro take on the Australian trotter in their A$50,000 Menangle Mile.

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