Sydney’s iconic pacing race, the Miracle Mile, is set for a historic date change as New South Wales harness racing bosses turn their back on the Inter Dominion.
And that will ensure the Interdom reverts to its famous three rounds of heats and a Grand Final from 2016, being staged in Western Australia.
The Miracle Mile has traditionally been held in November since it was first run in 1967 but will move to March in 2016 to replace the Inter Dominion, which NSW did not bid for the rights to stage.
Bidding for the rights to the Inter Dominion for 2016-18 closed yesterday and WA was the only state to chase the series so will host it for three years and looks almost certain to retain the series as clubs in the eastern states concentrate on their home grown features.
Menangle will still host the Inter Dominion next season but when it moves to Perth the Miracle Mile will take its place on the seven-group one day in March which has become Australian harness racing’s biggest meeting.
The meeting, which also plays host to the NSW Derby, Oaks, Chariots Of Fire, Ladyship Mile and Sydney’s richest trot, the Glenferrie Farm Challenge, was created to compliment the Inter Dominion two years ago.
But NSWHRC club boss John Dumesny says the Miracle Mile will now move to that March meeting and could become a truly international race.
“We have loved hosting the Inter Dominion and are looking forward to a great series next February-March,” Dumesny told the Telegraph.
“But we are happy to see it go to Perth, which will be good for the industry there and frees us up to hold the Miracle Mile on our biggest day.
“And we think the March slot is perfect for us to try and lure leading North American pacers down to Australia and make the Miracle Mile carnival one of the world’s best.”
The move comes as the harness racing calendar undergoes a massive shift, with almost all its major races now being staged after Christmas.
The Victoria Cup has already moved from mid-December to late January and sets up a two-month window in which the best US free-for-all pacers could be attracted to come Down Under in their off-season.
So it would not surprise to see Victorian, Queensland and NSW harness bosses work together to create a circuit of world class races during that time slot, with potential benefits for the Inter Dominion as well.
The only point of argument heading forward is likely to be the exact timing of the Inter Dominion, with Perth understood to be keen on early March, which is when the new Miracle Mile meeting will be scheduled for.
But it provides harness racing authorities across Australia with the opportunity to finally work together to create a better, sustainable calendar for their best races.
by Michael Guerin, for Harness Racing Australia