Field confirmed for next weekend's Miracle Mile
By Adam Hamilton
Historians have some work to do after champion trainers Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin snared half the field in the Miracle Mile.
Mach Dan, Captain Ravishing, Honolua Bay and Hurricane Harley will all fly the flag in next Saturday night’s $1 million, eight-horse race at Menangle.
It is believed to be a training record.
Belinda McCarthy has had three runners in the past two Miracle Miles, having landed the quinella both times, with King Of Swing and Spirit Of St Louis last year and King Of Swing beating Expensive Ego in 2021.
McCarthy has two runners again this year with Spirit Of St Louis and Expensive Ego. She also has second emergency Bondi Lockdown, who missed a spot by only finishing third in his qualifier at Menangle last night.
Brilliant former Kiwi mare Braeview Kelly forced her way into the field with a powerhouse victory in the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Mile. She worked hard early and still won easily in a 1min49.5sec mile.
Andy Gath’s young star Catch A Wave had already secured his spot with that monstrous Chariots Of Fire win over Captain Ravishing a week earlier.
Debate had raged through the week whether Captain Ravishing would get a berth, but it was never really in doubt.
Last night’s two qualifying heats were quite a contrast with Spirit Of St Louis leading, dawdling and dashing home in 25.9sec to beat Hurricane Harley, who sat outside him in a slow 1min52.9sec mile, to run second.
Bondi Lockdown was crossed early, sat one-one and ran a close third, but it wasn’t enough to get him through.
The second qualifier was a blistering contest, but Honolua Bay’s effort to come from last around the whole field and seemingly win with ease in a 1min49.2sec mile was breathtaking.
Expensive Ego returned to something like his best by working hard to find the front and fighting on strongly for second to guarantee himself a berth.
Major Meister’s effort to finish a close third was monstrous and probably had him in the field until Braeview Kelly’s remarkable Queen Elizabeth win.
Major Meister is the first emergency and Bondi Lockdown second emergency.
Stylish Memphis bows out at Menangle
Top young former horseman Jack Trainor continued his love affair with Australia’s biggest mares’ race at Menangle last night.
While it wasn’t a fairy tale farewell for Stylish Memphis, Trainor’s new stable star, Braeview Kelly, dominated her rivals to win the $200,000 Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II (formerly Ladyship Mile).
Stylish Memphis, having her last race start, tried hard in her quest for a three-peat in the great race, but had to be content with a close third.
Trainor stuck with driving Stylish Memphis, partly through sentiment, so young gun Cam Hart snared the winning drive on Braeview Kelly.
“We hoped Stylish Memphis had one big run left in her, but felt deep down Braeview Kelly was the up-and-comer and our best chance,” Trainor said.
“This has been a long range plan. I’ve loved this mare for ages and we took her down to Victoria last year to give her a trip away and a chance against the best, including Ladies In Red. We knew she’d come back a better mare for it.
“That’s just what’s happened. She’s been fantastic this campaign and it didn’t surprise me what she did tonight.
“Old Stylish Memphis ran a terrific race. She worked early and was still running third until the last couple of strides.”
Braeview Kelly worked hard early from a wide draw and eventually found the lead, but in a hot 54.6sec first half.
Despite spending so much early petrol, Braeview Kelly skipped away on the home bend with a big lead and held-off a gallant and outstanding Amore Vita to win by 3.1m in a sharp 1min49.5sec mile.
It was an all “former Kiwi” finish with Fairy Tinkerbell closing late for third.
Glamour Victorian filly Tough Tilly, who was so impressive winning a week earlier, ran one of the worst races of her career to finish 32m from the winner in ninth spot.
Mixed night for Telfer/Cullen
It was a rollercoaster night for Team Telfer/Hayden Cullen at Menangle last night.
B D Joe had no luck in his Miracle Mile qualifier, Kahlua Flybye ran well below her best after an early speed burn in the NSW Oaks but Alta Meteor made the most of a good run to dash home and win his NSW Derby heat.
B D Joe had no racing room when it mattered and finished sixth in a farcically run qualifier where he needed a top-two finish to qualify.
In the Oaks, Kahlua Flybye’s driver Tim Williams pushed forward from a wide draw with last week’s other heat winner, Soho Seraphine, and eventually found the front from that filly.
But they’d spent some petrol.
That said, while Kahlua Flybye dropped out to finish almost 20m from the winner in eighth spot, Soho Seraphine fought on well for second.
So, clearly, Kahlua Flybye ran well below her best and her Oaks win the week before.
The Oaks was won by Bathurst father-and-son Steve and Amanda Turnbull and their Betting Line filly Windy Hill Tara, who dashed clear late in a slick 1min55.5sec mile rate.
Soho Seraphine’s effort for second was enormous, while rank outsider Eve Crocker ran third.
Back to Alta Meteor and Williams drove superbly to stalk a hot midrace speed and overpower his rivals last in a 53.8sec closing half.