Christen Me’s Miracle Mile assault is definitely on and trainer Cran Dalgety believes it could be the perfect race to restore the troubled pacing star’s confidence.
After an eight-race winning rampage spanning both sides of the Tasman, Christen Me has galloped and been unplaced in two of his last three starts and even his third in last Tuesday’s New Zealand Cup was underwhelming.
Dalgety and driver Dexter Dunn have been left shaking their heads as the exceptional five-year-old seems to have developed racing claustrophobia, albeit with a decent helping of bad luck.
But while Dalgety was initially doubting Christen Me’s mental readiness for the$750,000 Miracle Mile in Sydney on Saturday week, his confidence has returned.
“We got our arses kicked and there is not a lot we can do about that,” said Dalgety.
“But I think it was only small things. Bottom line, I think he got a little insecure about being in tight spaces and didn’t know what to do.
“But he is a racehorse and a very good one, so we can’t sit here moaning about it. And most importantly, physically he is fine.
“The Miracle Mile and Victoria Cup are worth a lot of money so we are heading to both.” Christen Me was officially invited to the Miracle Mile after winning the Chariots of Fire at Menangle last March, which is probably fortunate because after his three recent defeats NSW harness racing bosses might have struggled to invite him this week.
Such is his talent he actually heads the only market open on the great race as the $3.50 equal favourite with Australian firm bookmaker.com.au, ahead of three-time NZ Cup hero Terror To Love at $4.
And while the Miracle Mile of old at Harold Park would have been a nightmare for a horse down on confidence, Dalgety believes the Mile at Menangle suits ideally.
“It is a big track with only eight starters. If we can’t get him around safely there then we are in trouble.”
Menangle racing is the closest thing in the Southern Hemisphere to the famous Meadowlands track in New Jersey, where the racing is almost like it is in lanes, with very little push and shove because the horses are racing flat-out most of the way.
So drivers decide at the start how much gas they want to burn and the field tends to sort itself out without a great deal of hassle.
That might be just what Christen Me needs, racing with no stops and starts, just a test of strength and lung capacity.
To help restore that confidence Dalgety will fly Christen Me to Sydney on Sunday and possibly trial him against fellow Mile starters I’m Victorious and Beautide next Tuesday.
“That might get his mind back on things and get him used to their style of racing again, which is very different from ours.” Five Mile invitations have been issued --- Christen Me, Terror To Love, Beautide, I’m Victorious and Restrepo --- with For A Reason as good as in, leaving two more invites after Saturday’s A$100,000 Cordina Sprint.
That field is likely to include Fly Like An Eagle, who is heading to Australia to be trained by Paul Fitzpatrick and Kiwi-owned star Ideal Scott, as well as Caribbean Blaster and Smoken Up.
One horse those open class star won’t have to worry about any time soon is I’m Themightyquinn.
The two-time Auckland Cup winner is injured and won’t return to work for at least a month, meaning he is likely to miss this season’s Interdominions in March.
Courtesy of Michael Guerin and the New Zealand Herald