Day At The Track

Butt dismayed over Miracle Mile debacle

08:10 AM 01 May 2013 NZST
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Anthony Butt
Anthony Butt - 'They may as well make us race in lanes as well'
File Photo

The Miracle Mile is always eventful and as promised, this year’s edition was no different. Baby Bling upset and became just the third mare to win the great race; Gaius Caesar was late scratched under controversial circumstances and last but certainly not least a seemingly ridiculous rule made three parties look like proper idiots.

This rule I speak of is the ‘advised tactics/ change of tactics rule' which effectively eliminated the chances of both Mach Alert and Mah Sish.

Prior to the race, trainer Belinda McCarthy was required to inform stewards of the tactics of her three runners (Mach Alert/Excel Stride/Baby Bling) and advised a ‘change of tactics for Mach Alert, advising that the third favourite would be driven "forward, but with cover."

This lead punters and quite clearly Anthony Butt to believe that if Mach Alert (John McCarthy) could cross the field from barrier five, he would then look for a trail.

However, after a sizzling first half of Mah Sish trying to wrestle the lead-off Mach Alert, it became abundantly clear that this was not the case.

"Obviously I would have never come out of the trail and attacked for the front if it wasn't for the advised tactics change," stated Butt.

"But the fact of the matter is the McCarthy's shouldn't have had to advise in the first place. Stewards should have the ability to read a race; if they can't then quite frankly they shouldn't be in their jobs."

"The rule is unworkable, uncomfortable and unnecessary," insisted Butt.

"It has not only made a fool of me, the McCarthy's, and the Stipes, but also the sport in general."

"It made a fool of me for driving Mah Sish the way I did. A fool of the McCarthy's for advising something and doing the opposite and a fool of the Stipes for announcing something over the loud speaker that never eventuated."

Butt also advised that the rule has been tried in other places and codes and discarded due to causing too many problems.

"I really feel for the connections of Mach Alert and Mah Sish as it ruined both horse's chances. If the change of tactics was never announced Mach Alert may have got an easy second quarter and been right there at the finish," said Butt.

"We can't take spontaneity out of the sport. In a race like the Miracle Mile, it is generally Australasia's best drivers competing, and you never quite know what's going to happen. That's what makes it so exciting," stressed Butt.

"If the Stipes want to do that they may as well make us race in lanes. Hey why not pre-program robots to drive horses to their request as well?"

"The rule is meant to help the punters but instead it causes confusion and makes the sport look stupid."

One can only assume that the McCarthy's advised the change of tactics so if the opportunity presented itself Mach Alert could hand up to stable mate and favourite Excel Stride, which would in turn give both runners a great chance.

"If the Stipes have a problem with how a horse has been driven or think one horses chances were diminished to benefit another; they should deal with it after the race, not before," concluded Butt.

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