Day At The Track

From Melbourne Cup to Miracle Mile

12:00 AM 17 Feb 2016 NZDT
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Arms Of An Angel
Arms Of An Angel

When Protectionist won the Melbourne Cup in 2014, Aziz Kheir or Ozzie as he is known to his friends, celebrated with his fellow owners, one of the special victories thoroughbred racing can provide. All owners dream of winning the biggest races and there is none bigger in Australia than the Melbourne Cup.

Enjoying success in the sport of kings, Kheir could be excused for concentrating on another Melbourne Cup success however the only race that is on his mind is the Miracle Mile.

Kheir and good friend Karlos Farah have already raced some very promising standardbreds. Horses like Magical Telf, Macha, Mustang Mach and Chilli Palmer were all part owned by the pair and while they have enjoyed success they dream of winning harness racing's 'Holy Grail', the Miracle Mile.

That dream may just come true on Sunday February 28, as the pair have bought a ten percent stake in Arms Of An Angel, the Shane Tritton trained mare that produced an outstanding finish in Saturday night's Chariots Of Fire. The daughter of Elsu missed the start by five lengths but made up plenty of ground late to snatch third behind boom kiwi Have Faith In Me.

Farah was discussing horses on Twitter on Sunday night when the major owner in Arms Of An Angel, Zac Cornell became involved in the conversation.

"We've never met but I've followed the success of horses that Zac has owned like Mach Beauty and Suave Stuey Lombo," Farah said.

"I jokingly sent him a message and offered to swap him a share in one of my horses Macha for a share in Arms Of An Angel and while Zac didn't take me up on my offer, we did discuss whether he was interested in selling a share in her.

"Her performance on Saturday night in the Chariots is the best performance I have ever seen in harness racing by a beaten horse, it was phenomenal and when I had the opportunity to purchase a share I jumped at it."

Farah and Kheir agreed to purchase ten percent from Cornell and the excitement was enough to keep Farah up all Sunday night.

"I couldn't sleep, I kept saying to Ozzie we just have to finish this deal tomorrow morning, this is our chance to own a horse that has a legitimate chance of winning the Miracle Mile.

"It happened so fast neither of us had time to tell our partners so we took them out for dinner on Monday night to break the news to them over a couple of bottles of wine."

Farah made contact with trainer Shane Tritton and driver Lauren Panella and is already working on his attire for Miracle Mile day.

"I'm going to have to wear a pink shirt or a pink tie because Lauren drives in the pink gig.

"Ozzie and I can't wait to get to Menangle on Sunday week, it is going to be very special."

The story continued on Monday afternoon when Cornell received a large number of phone calls after it was announced he had sold ten percent of the mare. Cornell decided to relinquish another ten percent to former AFL umpire and harness racing enthusiast Matt Leppard.

Cornell has since confirmed he will not be selling anymore shares.

"I owned 90 percent originally and Matt Sinclair owned ten but now I've sold 20 so I still have 70 percent and it gives me the chance to race the horse with some good people," Cornell said.

Terry Henderson has completed the rare Melbourne Cup/Miracle Mile double previously. He part owned dual Miracle Mile winner Chokin and also raced 1995 Melbourne Cup winner Doriemus. Can Kheir add his name to the list? We will find out on Sunday February 28.

Greg Hayes

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