Million dollar Miracle Mile confirmed
By Michael Guerin
Harness racing fans have been handed an early Christmas present with the elite pacers surprisingly set to have an A$1million race to decide who is Australasia’s best.
NSW harness officials confirmed yesterday the Miracle Mile set for Menangle outside Sydney on March 6 will be run for A$1million just months after they thought they may have to halve the stake.
Already stakes in many key pacing races have been reduced due to the economic impact of Covid while the Inter Dominions which were to have been held in Sydney this month were delayed a year.
But after better than expected results in recent month’s Menangle boss Bruce Christison confirmed yesterday the super sprint will break the seven-figure mark.
“We are thrilled to be able to keep it at that level,” says Christison.
And that will be enough not only to confirm the Miracle Mile as being worth almost twice as much as any other harness race in Australasia but to attract the best possible field.
New Zealand and Australia’s best pacers have been segregated for much of the last year because of travel restrictions so the likes of Self Assured and Spankem haven’t been taking on Aussie heroes Lochinvar Art and King Of Swing.
With the Miracle Mile stake confirmed and the New Zealand open class season tapering off dramatically after the Auckland Cup on New Year’s Eve, the best Kiwi pacers have a very obvious target to aim for, with perhaps the main question being whether Copy That will now target the big money instead of staying home.
Trainer Mark Purdon was already looking to take Self Assured and Spankem to the Miracle Mile carnival before he takes a step away from training in 2021 but he was also considering the Hunter Cup in Melbourne.
But with the Menangle news the Miracle Mile that is certain to be the main focus of the glamour pacers.
Lochnivar Art has emerged as the most exciting pacer in Australia since arch rival Ride High’s season was ended by leg issues but King Of Swing finished the season on a high by winning his third Grand Circuit race of 2020 in the A$175,000 Blacks A Fake in Brisbane on Saturday night.
So all four could end up in the Miracle Mile, a race both King Of Swing (this year) and Spankem (2019) have won before.
King Of Swing’s win on Saturday not only confirmed him as the Australian Grand Circuit champion for 2020 but capped a stunning weekend for his Waikato-based mare Twist And Twirl.
She is also the dam of New Zealand’s best three-year-old pacing filly Bettor Twist who staged a remarkable performance to win the Woodlands Stud Caduceus Club Classic at Alexandra Park on Friday night.
The exceptional filly looked beaten at the 400m but rallied hard late to down leader La Rosa in the style of an Oaks winner in waiting.
Bettor Twist has won six of her nine starts starts and is rated a $1.35 by the TAB to make it another group one at Alexandra Park on New Year’s Eve.
Mares leaving two separate group one winners in the same season is rare enough, two within 28 hours is special stuff.
Sadly for owners Breckon Farms, Twist And Twirl lost her Bettors Delight colt born just two weeks ago, with the colt potentially one of the most valuable born in Australasia this harness season.
But they will take an A Rocknroll Dance colt out of Twist And Twirl to the Karaka yearling sales in February.
All of last Friday’s other key winners are now favourites with the TAB for their group ones and feature races coming up at Alexandra Park’s huge New Year’s Eve twilight meeting.
Spankem is rated a a $2.80 chance for the Auckland Cup, American Dealer a $3.20 shot in the NZBS Harness Million while Sundees Son, who trotted a national record for 2200m sitting parked last Friday, is now $1.95 to win the National Trot.