Miracle Miles

Miracle Miles

Miracle Miles

Sydney’s greatest harness race was thrown wide open by a crazy qualifying night at Menangle on Saturday, leaving plenty of questions over next Saturday’s $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile.
Both Australasia’s best pacer Lazarus and defending Mile champion Lennytheshark were beaten in their $100,000 preludes, needing the discretion of the New South Wales Harness Racing Club committee to secure their Mile invites.
The early second favourite for Mile in Heaven Rocks didn’t qualify at all while Hunter Cup runner-up Soho Tribeca was beaten by Anything For Love in the 1:48.7 first prelude.
The intrigue started when Anything For Love led as Team Tritton suggested he would and held out Soho Tribeca by a nose, with bolter Charlaval third in the first prelude, the $100,000 Allied Express Transport Sprint.
All three got invites to the Miracle Mile, as did Lennytheshark who finished fifth, with club officials saying the champion pacer’s career record as well as his status as defending champion aiding his cause.
But the biggest shock of the night came when Lazarus struggled bravely into third in the $100,000 Canadian Club Sprint won by local hero Tiger Tara over My Field Marshal.
Tiger Tara was expertly driven by Todd McCarthy early to keep Lazarus in a pocket and press on to the lead and he was never extended to win in a far slower 1:51.5, with My Field Marshal storming home from the tail of the field for second.
Lazarus was clearly below his best and looked gone at the 400m mark but picked himself up to finish third, giving a huge scare to one TAB punter who had bet $50,000 a place on him at $1.04.
His trainer-driver Mark Purdon said the Inter Dominion champion was below his best after a slight blood complaint during the week, which his vet had informed stewards of.
“I thought he was over it but the way the race panned out and him having to race parked after being crossed it affected him,” said Purdon.
“So we have a week to get him right and I am just glad he gets into the Mile.”
 The NSWHRC directors said they found the final field decision relatively straight forward, with the first three home in both preludes joined by the defending champion and last Saturday’s Chariots Of Fire winner Jilliby Kung Fu.
The all-important draw for the $750,000 Ainsworth Miracle Mile will be held at Club Menangle around 1.30pm on Sunday.
The field field for the great race is.-- Anything For Love, Soho Tribeca, Charlaval, Tiger Tara, My Field Marshal, Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Jilliby Kung Fu. Emergencies: Let It Ride, Atomic Red.
For Further information contact Club Menangle Racing Manager David Wonson (02) 4645 2200

Amanda Zammit

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