Everything we hoped for in the the 51st edition of the Miracle Mile we got.
A dramatic build-up, a deep and competitive bunch of horses, perfect weather and a track built for breaking records.
Saturday February 24 at Tabcorp Park Menangle delivered the very best that Harness Racing has to offer – and it delivered in spades.
MIRACLE MILE BREAKDOWN
Jilliby Kung Fu, Soho Tribeca and My Field Marshal did something no horse(s) has ever done, it just so happened that My Field Marshal was the horse who won the race and officially became the fastest ever horse in the Southern Hemisphere.
Firstly, to the victor go the spoils and My Field Marshal completed the seventh fastest mile ever recorded, whilst comfortably erasing Have Faith In Me’s 1:47.5 performance in the 2016 Miracle Mile. My Field Marshal’s winning rate of 1:46.9 obliterated the previous record and firmly entrenched horses from Australasia among some of the fastest on earth.
Off the arm, Anything For Love crossed Tiger Tara within 100m of the beginning whilst Soho Tribeca and Jilliby Kung Fu also hustled early to take up prominent positions.
The first 400m was covered in a slick but not record-breaking 26.3 but it was the next two furlongs which really made the race. Greg Sugars, aboard Soho Tribeca, ensured Anything For Love would need to work all the way which resulted in a 27.3 second quarter and a blistering 53.6 opening half of the mile.
Meanwhile, Lazarus was three-wide throughout, waiting and hoping for the leaders to tap the breaks so he could begin his run from the back.
That speed respite never came and as great as Lazarus has been throughout his illustrious, record-breaking career – he was never ever going to be a factor in this race. Simple mathematics tells you horses cannot take ground from other horses who are running sections like Soho Tribeca, Jilliby Kung Fu and others were up front.
So, Lazarus aside, back to the race. As Soho Tribeca shook off Anything For Love early in the straight, Jilliby Kung Fu sat tightly on the back of Soho Tribeca before making his run in the lane and eventually getting past him. For most of the incredibly long straight at Menangle, Soho Tribeca looked the winner, then the ever-improving four-year-old Jilliby Kung Fu looked the winner before Anthony Butt finally produced My Field Marshal for a surging, hard-fought victory right on the line.
My Field Marshal pipped Jason Lee and Jilliby Kung Fu a head with the unbelievably gallant and unlucky Soho Tribeca a half neck away in third.
Tiger Tara was only average but did run fourth with Lennytheshark not far away in fifth. You’d be surprised to see Lenny make another Miracle Mile so he was far from disgraced in what may even be his Menangle swan-song.
Anything For Love could not repeat his performance from a week ago and dropped right out whilst Lazarus battled away for his first ever finish outside the placings and Charlaval came home in exactly the position most expected – last.
Congratulations to brothers, Anthony and Tim Butt who skipped lucrative races to target the now-home track Miracle Mile. A well laid out plan was executed to perfection.
- Congratulations are also in order for Mark Pitt who piloted and prepared Shez All Rock who upstages some bigger names to sweep the NSW Oaks and become a Group 1 winner within five starts of her debut.
- Poster Boy got revenge for his Victoria Derby defeat by sprinting hard to claim the goodies in the NSW edition with trainer Emma Stewart also scoring the trifecta with Tam Major and Major Times following Poster Boy home.
- Franco Nelson just beat out a game San Carlo in the $100,000 Bohemia Crystal and re-announced himself as a genuine Grand Circuit competitor in the future.
- A speedy Ladyship Mile was also won by Emma Stewart with recent addition Carlas Pixel coming from near-last to win in a scorching 1:49.5 mile. Kiwis Delishka and Rocker Band ran into second and third whilst the highly-fancied Kerryn Manning duo Ameretto and Golden Goddess struggled.
- Maori Time rivalled My Field Marshal for run of the night by leading all the way for a Group 1 victory in the mile rate of 1:51.5 – easily a record for the trotters.
Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles is done and dusted but we have some memories – plus many records – to remember this fantastic edition by as the top class trots take a quick spell before the babies fire up for some of the two-year-old riches.
And this author may even have a cheeky colt or two who might be able to compete with the smart juveniles. Here’s hoping anyway!!