Miracle Mile Preview
By Michael Guerin
Thefixer may look one of the most unlikely horses to complete pacing’s greatest double.
But at Menangle this weekend he can become just the sixth horse to win the New Zealand Cup and Miracle Mile in the same season.
The two races are the greatest, and richest, held in their respective countries with total stakes worth nearly $2million, no small deal in the harness racing world.
But winning both is worth more than money. It earns a horse entry to a club with only five members: Monkey King, Christian Cullen, Chokin, Christopher Vance and Master Mood.
They all won the double back when both races were held in November, so form from one race could carry over to the other.
Even then it is still a special feat, the Cup being a standing start over 3200m, the Miracle Mile a mobile sprint. They are the long and short of pacing greatness.
But no horse has ever done what Thefixer is favoured to do tonight — win the Cup in November then the Miracle Mile nearly four months later.
Not that it has been the smoothest of sailing in between. Thefixer was a poor seventh in the Hunter Cup just four weeks ago and his Mile chances looked shattered.
But he has adapted to Australia and more particularly Menangle and the way he blew past arch rival Tiger Tara on his home track in the Mile prelude last Saturday suggested he is back to his NZ Cup peak.
Add in barrier two and his gate speed on what is, by Miracle Mile standards, a relatively sedate front line and everything has fallen into place for Thefixer.
“A month ago we looked in trouble but he has gotten better every step of the way since the Hunter Cup and is back to his best,” says champion trainer Mark Purdon.
“He is out top chance and if he leads I think Natalie (Rasmussen, driver) will be keen to stay in front.”
The Purdon-Rasmussen trio for the Mile, the others being Spankem and Chase Auckland, worked well together on Thursday and the boss rates them Thefixer, Spankem and Chase Auckland because of their respective open class experience levels.
“And the biggest danger to us is Poster Boy, he is a very good horse.”
That discounts the Australian superstar of the season Tiger Tara but a mile on his home track has rarely seen his best work and wide barrier draws have been a horror show for punters in Miracle Miles.
Purdon is very confident with Our Princess Tiffany (NSW Oaks) and Ashley Locaz (Bohemia Crystal) tonight but says Our Dream About Me’s chances in the Ladyship Mile could depend on the start.
“She raced a bit dour last week and to be honest I would have preferred barrier two or three rather than one, in case she gets crossed.
“But I have given her shorter heat work sessions this week and put the winkers on her to sharpen her up and if she can hold at the start the start she is the one to beat.”