Sooner The Bettor best of Kiwis in Chariots Of Fire

By Adam Hamilton

Training sensation Jason Grimson knows how to beat pin-up pacer Leap To Fame and he will have two chances to do it again in next Saturday night’s $1mil Miracle Mile.

Grimson upstaged Leap To Fame with his older half-brother Swayzee in last year’s Group 1 Blacks A Fake, but it will be speedsters Frankie Ferocious and Hi Manameisjeff flying his flag this time.

Grimson stole the show on “qualifiers” night at Menangle last night, winning two of the three features, including a star-studded Group 1 Chariots Of Fire with relatively new stable addition Frankie Ferocious.

While the injury riddled Hi Manameishjeff made it nine wins from 10 starts in Grimson’s care when he led throughout in blistering time.

They both cemented Miracle Mile spots.

"It's pretty special. We've set these horses for these races and it's come off and hopefully we can win the big one next week," Grimson said.

Asked who Cam Hart would drive in the Miracle Mile, Grimson: "I don't really know yet. We'll have a discussion and go from there."

Former Kiwi Jack Trainor is expected to drive whichever Hart doesn't.

In contrast, NZ’s two glamours four-year-olds had to be content with midfield finishes – Its Merlin (fifth) and Don’t Stop Dreaming (sixth) – in a Chariots Of Fire dominated from start to finish by Frankie Ferocious and his driver, Cam Hart.

The other Kiwi, Sooner The Bettor, ran one of the best races of his career for second after trailing Frankie Ferocious throughout and running second, which was enough to get him into the Miracle Mile field.

Despite Don't Stop Dreaming finishing only sixth, he landed the last spot in the Miracle Mile, presumably mainly off his second to Leap To Fame in the Hunter Cup last month.

Frankie Ferocious is unbeaten in three starts – all dominant wins – since joining Grimson’s stable and the Queensland-owned pacer remains untapped.

His talent and blistering gate speed make him an ideal Miracle Mile horse, providing he draws well.

Like most of Grimson’s horses, Hi Manameisjeff also packs loads of gate speed.

Also driven by Hart, the injury-plagued seven-year-old blasted out of gate 10 and worked across to find the front from Mach Dan.

He never looked in danger, staving-off the much-improved Loyalist to win by 1.8m in a 1min48.4sec mile.

It was the fastest of the three qualifiers on the night.

Waiting for them all is Leap To Fame, the only horse who didn’t have to race last night.

He qualified for the Miracle Mile by winning last Friday week’s Newcastle Mile and has since been taking it easy at home.

It’s worth noting the former Kiwi pacer Spirit Of St Louis will be lining up in his third Miracle Mile and has already contested three Inter Dominion finals.

MIRACLE MILE FIELD (not in barrier order): Leap To Fame, Frankie Ferocious, Sooner The Bettor, Speak The Truth, Spirit Of St Louis, Hi Manameisjeff, Loyalist and Don't Stop Dreaming. Emergencies: Curly James (1st emerg), South Coast Arden (2nd emerg).

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Team Purdon will have runners in the two major races at Menangle next Saturday night.

As well as Don’t Stop Dreaming getting the “wildcard” ticket into the $1 million Miracle Mile the Mark and Nathan Purdon-trained We Walk By Faith qualified for the NSW Derby with victory in the second of three heats.

Mark Purdon kept pushing forward from an outside draw, quickly found the front and dictated terms for what was basically a 400m dash home.

We Walk By Faith zipped home in 54.9 and 26.5sec to beat Chicago Bart by 5.1m in a 1min57.88sec mile rate for 2400m.

The other heats were won by big, raw and talented Victorian colt Bay Of Biscay in 1min55.8sec and Ravishing Sloy in 1min56.4sec.

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Former talented Kiwi pacer Bach looked terrific winning at Melton last night.

The five-year-old, now with Kyle Marshall at Cranbourne, sat parked and was simply too strong and classy for his rivals in a brisk 1min53.2sec mile rate for 1720m.

Bach raced 29 times in NZ for eight wins and three placings before moving to Aussie at the start of the year.

The gelding went straight into the deep end at his first run for Marshall in the Cranbourne Cup on February 10, but galloped and lost all chance.

Chris Alford took the reins last night and was quick to make a move around and sit parked before digging deep late to win by two metres.

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A familiar name won the $150,000 Group 1 Tasmania Cup last night.

Ewa (pronounced Ever) Justice, daughter of decorated horseman John, took the reins on veteran gelding Modern Bliss for an upset win.

Adding to the fantastic story, the Ash Warton-trained Modern Bliss is a 12-year-old gelding who was having his 182nd start.

 

 

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