Miracle Mile driver confirmed for Alta Orlando

The Kiwi connections of classy pacer Alta Orlando have snapped-up champion driver Chris Alford for the $1 million Miracle Mile.

Luke McCarthy is driving defending champion King Of Swing, which left Belinda McCarthy to work with the owners of Alta Orlando and Chariots Of Fire winner Expensive Ego to find new drivers.

Alta Orlando won 11 from 57 in this country before heading across the Tasman. It is owned by champion trainer Robert Dunn, his daughter in law Jenna Dunn, and Dr Margaret Evans and Mitzi Taylor.

In an exciting change of luck from Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran, he has landed the drive on Expensive Ego, who is the Aussie TAB’s $7 second favourite.

Alford was thrilled to get the call-up for Alta Orlando after getting the same gig when he ran second to Lochinvar Art in last month’s Group 1 Hunter Cup.

“Luke (McCarthy) thinks he’s right back to his best and a great chance of leading them early from his draw,” Alford said.

“He’s very quick out. If he’s as good or better than he was Hunter Cup time, then I’m sure he’ll run a big race this week.”

Alford is chasing his second Miracle Mile win after partnering former champ Lennytheshark to victory in 2017.

“He’s my only winner, but I’ve been placed a few times on really good horses like Golden Reign, Tailamade Lombo and Lenny,” he said.

“It’s one of the great races and hard to win. It’s exciting to be part of it again.”

Moran was bracing himself to watch the Miracle Mile with very mixed emotions given Lochinvar Art was a $1.70 prepost favourite before his hoof injury ruled him out.

“I’ve been staying at Luke and Belinda’s place and they had mentioned I could be in the mix for a drive if they got a few in,” Moran said. “It’s terrific to pick-up a drive like Expensive Ego after he went so big to win the Chariots.

“It’s certainly changed the race for me. I’m a lot more excited about it now.”

Moran also has leading NSW Derby contender Patsbeachstorm, who brilliantly won his heat last Saturday night.

Patsbeachstorm drew wide in gate eight for the final with key rivals Tasty Delight (three) and Idyllic (12) having varied luck.

“The draw isn’t ideal, but he’s primed. That run last week really topped him off and did it easily in the finish the other night,” Moran said.


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