Day At The Track

Purdon adds another Grand Circuit win to his record

08:47 PM 03 Mar 2019 NZDT
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Champion horseman Mark Purdon has added another Grand Circuit event to his record.

Purdon took the winning drive behind star four-year-old Spankem to claim the $1 million Ainsworth Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle when leading throughout to defeat stablemate Thefixer and Poster Boy in a time of 1:47.7.

It’s the first time Purdon has driven a Miracle Mile winner.

Back in 2016, Have Faith In Me scored for the All Stars stable when handled by Natalie Rasmussen.

Amazingly, the Miracle Mile was considered as an afterthought after missing the recent Chariots of Fire, Spankem showed his class and toughness after claiming the Canadian Club Sprint qualifier a week ago before scoring last night (Saturday).

Boasting three runners in the event, the All Stars stable finished 1st, 2nd and 4th in the country’s premier sprint race.

Spankem, a son of Bettors Delight, becomes only the 7th four-year-old to win the Miracle Mile since its inception back in 1967 and joins the likes of Mount Eden, Gundary Flyer, Westburn Grant, Iraklis, Christian Cullen and Have Faith In Me.

New Zealand Cup winner Thefixer showed early speed from gate two and headed off Poster Boy while Spankem pushed forward quickly from his wide draw (gate 6) and found the lead before the end of the first quarter.

The opening split was timed in 26.9 seconds.

Spankem settled perfectly in front with Thefixer sitting behind him while Poster Boy and Chase Auckland also rode the pegs.

My Alpha Rock was left facing the breeze with his stablemate Yayas Hot Spot landing one out/one back cover while current Grand Circuit leader Tiger Tara sat last on the outside.

Defending champion My Field Marshal drifted back to the rear soon after the start but lost contact with the field and dropped out and took no competitive part.

It was later established that My Field Marshal had suffered cardiac arrhythmia.

Passing the half, Spankem went through the second section in 28.2 seconds.

No moves were being made and Purdon continued to dictate terms in front and Spankem traveled strongly.

Heading off the back straight, the third quarter was posted in 27.2 seconds.

Upon straightening, Spankem led the way with Thefixer coming to his outside in readiness to outsprint him while Poster Boy and Chase Auckland also starting to wind up.

In the straight, Spankem held Thefixer with Poster Boy closing off well for third and Chase Auckland running fourth.

Tiger Tara eventually dropped off slightly in the straight to finish fifth.

The final split was timed in an astonishing 25.4 seconds – the fastest ever closing split ever recorded in Australia.

The winning time is the third quickest in the event’s history, only My Field Marshal (1:46.9) and Have Faith In Me (1:47.5) have gone faster.

Naturally, Purdon was thrilled with the result.

“It’s a great result for the stable; having three runners engaged and they’ve all performed really well so it’s particularly pleasing for the stable overall,” Purdon said.

“Personally, it’s a massive thrill to win this race; it has so much history and a certain aura about it so it’s great to finally win it.” He added.

Purdon has had three previous drives in the Miracle Mile; Lazarus (3rd), Jack Cade (2nd) and Young Rufus (4th).

Only one leg remains of the 2018/19 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit – the Gr.1 $200,000 Blacks A Fake Queensland Championship at Albion Park on July 20.


Chris Barsby

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