THE fastest last quarter in the history of harness racing in Australia sealed the richest race ever run at Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight when four-year-old gelding Spankem won tonight’s $1m Ainsworth Miracle Mile.
Surging home in a 25.4s final quarter as part of a slashing 1:47.7 mile, Spankem gave champion reinsman Mark Purdon his first win – as a reinsman in the race – and his second as a trainer.
And even more satisfying for the All Stars team is that they bagged the quinella in the Group One with New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer (Natalie Rasmussen) finishing second and their other runner, Chase Auckland (Luke McCarthy) fourth, just behind Chariots Of Fire winner Poster Boy (third).
Typical of Australia’s biggest harness race, few could tip the way the race would unfold.
Thefixer led from gate two but handed up the lead to Spankem early in the race and from there Purdon never gave anything else a chance.
Spankem scored a one and half-metre win over the stablemate with Poster Boy 7.5m back in third after getting clear when the race was all over.
Tipped by many to make a clean sweep of Australia’s greatest race, Tiger Tara scored the first surprise when he was taken back out of the gate and when he made his move going up the back straight the final time just couldn’t get into the action.
Tiger Tara eventually dropped off slightly in the straight to finish fifth.
Purdon took particular delight in winning his first Miracle Mile in the sulky:
“This is a massive thrill,” he said.
“This race and this meeting is equivalent to our New Zealand Cup meeting – and they don’t get any better than this.”
Purdon paid tribute to Luke and Belinda McCarthy for letting the All Stars team stay at their Cobbitty base.
“It’s been a home away from home and all the horses settled in so well there – it’s just been fantastic,” he said.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION TELEPHONE CLUB MENANGLE RACING MANAGER DAVID WONSON ON 0438-398-251.