The Miracle Mile was 1st held in 1967 at the famous Harold Park Paceway in Sydney. The race was introduced by the New South Wales Harness Racing Club after the idea was put forward by then President Len Smith. Initially held as an invitation only race, it has constantly created as many headlines off the track as those for the on-track deeds. The format has had some alterations and now has races pre-determined allowing horses to gain selection into the field.
Held in NSW the race was held at Harold Park from its introduction through to 2008. With Harold Park’s closure, the race is now held over the traditional mile distance of 1609m on the spacious Menangle surface. The 2018 edition will carry total stakes of $750,000 and is a leg of the Australasian Grand Circuit, a selection of races conducted across the season to crown the best pacer from Australia and New Zealand.
The honour roll contains some of the champions of the sport, with past winners including Mount Eden (1971), Hondo Grattan (1974), Popular Alm (1983), Our Sir Vancelot (1997) and arguably the greatest performance Christian Cullen (1998).
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Trainer Kevin Pizzuto could not have hoped for a better result when landing gate 1 for the final with Tiger Tara. The speedster has drawn the ace marble in the Inter Dominion Final, the Hunter Cup and now the Miracle Mile in the three Grand Circuit events. He loves to lead- can he hold out Anything For Love? A big factor in favour of the Tiger is that he has never drawn closer than barrier 3 at the Menangle Mile where his record shows 10 wins from 14 starts and as a front-runner, he looks likely to set the tempo.
Team Tritton have secured another Miracle Mile runner following a devastating win from a member of their powerful stable. Sent straight to the front in the Allied Express Sprint Anything For Love kept the speed on all the way to run a scintillating 1.48.7 in taking out 1 of the 2 qualifying sprints. That was the gelding's 3rd win from 4 starts this preparation running the mile in 1.51.5, 1.50.4 and then the his first sub 1.50 run in the Allied Express. 9 of his 12 career wins have been at Menangle as he looks for the biggest win of his career.
Can My Field Marshal add the Miracle Mile to his Len Smith Mile to make it the big Menangle Mile double? Smoken Up and Beautide are the only 2 pacers to have secured the double since the Len Smith was inaugurated in 2008 with the move to Menangle. 3 starts back the Tim Butt trained 6YO was a winner from gate 6 when pressing forward to work in the run and was able to sprint home strongly to score. In the Canadian Club qualifier he drifted across from gate 7 to find position and was tracking home strongly in a sizzling closing 800m. With a solid tempo he is the off-pace runner to watch swooping home.
The only 4YO in the field, he will be taking the biggest step of his career to date and has only had three starts in his 4YO term. Each of those 3 starts has seen the entire record slashing victories including a 1.51.9 run at Melton when doing a tonne of work outside the leader. After taking out the Chariots Of Fire in a sizzling run from gate 7, the potential of Jilliby Kung Fu was on full display and the Marg Lee trained entire will be looking to emulate the deeds of Have Faith In Me by securing the Chariots Of Fire/Miracle Mile double in the same season.
Transferring to the East, Soho Tribeca is yet to taste victory at the spacious Menangle track having placed twice in his three appearances. Now prepared by Mick Stanley, the Art Major entire sat outside Anything For Love in the Allied Express and put the heat into the run and was only beaten a nose on the line. Leading into the Mile qualifier Soho Tribeca was beaten 1m behind Lazarus in the G1 Hunter Cup at his first appearance or Stanley. The last run in Perth before being sent East was a brilliant run to win the WA Pacing Cup. He looks the danger and can challenge Lazarus at the top of the market.
Can Lenny secure back-to-back Miracle Miles and join Smoken Up as the only dual winners of the mile since being held at Menangle? The Shark is back to defend his title and was granted a wild-card invitation after finishing 5th behind Anything For Love in the Allied Express. In the Hunter Cup he was locked away on the pegs which is not his preferred position. With stakes approaching $3m, he can become the 6th Australasian to surpass that figure. The odds suggest that Lenny is going to struggle in this race. He should appreciate successive runs at the mile after going 10 runs without going over the sprint trip. Can the oldest horse in the race wind back the clock?
KerryAnn Turner prepares Charlaval at what will be the biggest moment in her career along with Robbie Morris who will drive in his first Miracle Mile. Charlaval earned his position in the field with a 3rd in the Allied Express, granting automatic qualification for the big dance. A talented gelding, he will be facing the biggest test of his career and does look to need plenty of luck to finish in the money. He does possess a strong closing sprint and Morris will be snagging back looking for the pegs and hoping for the seas to part in the straight.
This is the only big race missing from Lazarus amazing career and it is staggering to think that he is still only in his five-year-old season. Victory will see Lazarus become just the 3rd pacer from the Southern Hemisphere to reach $4m in winnings. Amazingly the entire is yet to miss a placing in 44 career starts, a career that has returned 35 victories. This is by far and away the biggest test of his career, with many feeling his 3rd in the qualifier when 4m from Tiger Tara was a long way below his best. In another 'interesting' move, Nat Rasmussen replaces Purdon as the driver. A champion can never be written off and he is still the one to beat.