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An earthquake helped played part in Stuart McDonald’s harness racing career and now the 22-year-old is ready to take New South Wales by storm. The New Zealander has been in Australia for five years and is set to make his mark on the Sydney harness scene. Still currently one of the leading concession drivers in Western Australia having spent five years working in the west, McDonald only arrived in Sydney a couple of months ago but is hoping to make a name for himself here as a freelance driver. “I really want to be a freelance driver here in Sydney and New South Wales,” McDonald said. “I would like to stay here until I at least outdrive my concession claim.” McDonald has been driving for a number of stables since settling into Sydney and has already driven 16 winners since arriving in January. He has a drive at today’s Tabcorp Park Menangle meeting on board the Shane Sanderson Lucia Bromac – a stable he has been driving for of late. “I’m hoping she goes well,” he said. The mare is a former Kiwi, a bit like McDonald himself. “I don’t plan on going back to New Zealand . . . that’s not home for me anymore,” McDonald said. “I left there when I was 16 so for most of my adult life I have been in Australia. “I actually never drove in a race over in New Zealand. “There was an earthquake at my school and because of that we were transferred to another school. “That school would have their classes in the mornings and my school’s classes didn’t start until 1pm so that’s when I started working with horses with Wayne Higgs. “I would work the horses in the morning before I would go to school and it was through Wayne that I started working over in Western Australia with Greg Schofield. “I then worked for Ross Olivieri for three-and-a-half years before heading to Sydney.” After driving for Sydney trainer Kevin Pizzuto during the Perth Inter Dominion series last year, McDonald moved east and spent a stint working for Pizzuto’s stable. For the past two seasons McDonald has been the leading junior driver in Western Australia and ranked amongst the top 10 drivers in that state too. “I love the racing over there, it’s a lot tougher than what it is here with a lot of half mile tracks,” McDonald said. “That’s where I first started driving so it will always be special to me.” AMANDA RANDO | MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER

Victorian pacer Lennytheshark scored a thrilling harness racing victory in last night's (Saturday) Gr.1 $750,000 Ainsworth Gaming Technology Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle, and the 50th edition of Australasia’s premier speed test. A runner-up last year, Lennytheshark ($5.50) sat without cover in the 1609m contest before holding off Smolda ($10.20) by a half-head margin with race favourite Lazarus ($2.20) a further two metres away in third in a time of 1:49.1. The breakdown was 24.8, 30.3, 28.2 and 25.9 seconds. The time was well outside of the race record set last year by Have Faith In Me at 1:47.5. It was the first victory for Lennytheshark on the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit. The victory was also the first since Smoken Up back in 2010 where the winner of the Miracle Mile has sat without cover – a first over crush! Lennytheshark becomes the 10th pacer to claim the Miracle Mile/Inter Dominion double joining the likes of Beautide, Smooth Satin, Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Our Maestro, Village Kid, Preux Chevalier, Young Quinn and Hondo Grattan. It was the 22nd victory in the event by a stallion, the Four Starzzz Shark – Botswana entire becoming the first since the mighty Christian Cullen proved successful back in 1998. And Lennytheshark now becomes the highest earning stallion in the southern hemisphere with earnings of $2,560,890 eclipsing Terror To Love. The overall record belongs to the incomparable Queensland champion Blacks A Fake with $4,575,456. The victory provided both trainer David Aiken and driver Chris Alford with their maiden success in the great race. For Alford, he has now claimed the Australian Grand Slam with victories in the Inter Dominion, Victoria and Hunter Cups and the Miracle Mile. Alford joins Natalie Rasmussen, Chris Lewis, Barry Perkins and Brian Gath as winners of the Big 4! It was his fifth drive in the Miracle Mile following placings previously with Golden Reign (1994 – Chokin), Tailamade Lombo (1998 – Christian Cullen, 2000 – Holmes D G) and Lennytheshark last year when second behind Have Faith In Me. The early burn was set-up by Hectorjayjay who charged across the face the field to lead from the wide draw while Smolda attempted to go with him from his inside draw. The 24.8 opening split is the fastest opening quarter in a Miracle Mile. Hectorjayjay led the way with Lennytheshark parked outside him while Lazarus worked into a one wide trail. As the field hit the half way point, the second quarter was timed in 30.3 seconds. Hectorjayjay continued to lead his stablemate Lennytheshark while the All Stars team of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen lurked dangerously. Smolda was sitting behind Hectorjayjay, Lazarus in the one out, one back trail while Our Waikiki Beach tracked Lazarus. As the field passed the 400m mark, the third quarter was timed in 28.2 with Hectorjayjay still in front while the moves were being made behind him. In the straight, Lennytheshark raced to the front while Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach loomed on his outside and Smolda probed for an inside run. Under the urgings of Alford, Lennytheshark failed to surrender and fought off his rivals. The last 400m timed in 25.9 seconds. “He’s an unbelievable horse.” Alford said. I’m so proud of him and he deserves this victory. “He gets the job done, I wasn’t sure at the 100m or 50m mark but he wouldn’t give in.” Lennytheshark is owned by Kevin Riseley and his son Martin. The final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place in the sunshine state with the running of the $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15. The latest points table for the APG Grand Circuit; Lazarus – 240 points Smolda – 185 Bling It On – 165 Lennytheshark – 140 Chris Barsby

A nose cost Lennytheshark victory in last year’s Miracle Mile when Australia’s most popular harness racing pacer was beaten by Have Faith In Me. So that probably made revenge all the more sweeter at Tabcorp Park @ Club Menangle tonight when Lennytheshark prevailed by that barest possible margin, beating Mark Purdon’s trio of Smolda, Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach in the $750,000 Group One Ainsworth Miracle Mile . . . the 50th running of the elite invitation-only race. It was an emotional reinsman Chris Alford who returned after ‘Lenny’ broke the magical 1:50 mark, rating 1:49.2 in a fabulous finish that capped off a great night of harness racing before a massive crowd at the south-western Sydney circuit. Alford has run several placings in Miracle Miles with some great horses like Golden Reign and Tailamade Lombo but will be talking about Lennytheshark’s greatness for the rest of his days after a victory that defied the critics. Trainer David Aiken was just as overcome by this horse’s incredible victory. “He’s had his problems this horse and my name may be in the racebook as the trainer but I can tell you this is very much a team effort,” said Aiken. “I’m originally a Sydney boy and I’ve been going to the Miracle Mile since I was eight or nine years old and I never really dreamed I would have a horse good enough to win it. “This horse is just a dream. He’s has leg issues and he had a foot injury in Perth but we’ve continued to swim him and get him right and tonight he showed what he can do. He’s a freak.” Turning for home the crowd was on its feet as four great horses fought it out tooth and nail and despite Purdon’s trio  giving it everything, Lennytheshark refused to yield as he added the Miracle Mile to his Inter Dominion and a string of other great victories. Lennytheshark is by Four Starzzz Shark from the Albert Albert mare Botswana. He is now the richest pacer ever in Australasia with over $2.56 million in the bank. Amanda Zammit  

He is the ultimate professional harness racing reinsman and prolific Victorian winner Chris Alford showed just why when he won the Group One $54,000 Australian Pacing Gold Trotters Cup at Tabcorp Park @Club Menangle tonight. Alford quickly found the front with the Nicole Molander-trained Dead Cat Bounce and defied all efforts to run him down in the straight, scoring a 2.6m win over Glenferrie Burn and Uncas, rating an impressive 1:54.1 for the flying mile. As the field swung for home there looked to be challenges coming from near and far but Alford and Dead Cat Bounce held them all at bay to give Victoria another Group One for the night. Just 45 minutes earlier Alford scored one of the biggest wins of his stellar career, taking out the Miracle Mile with Lennytheshark, but rather than rest on his laurels he was back in the bike and drove another fabulous race to add to one of his best nights at Menangle. Not a bad effort when you consider Alford has driven thousands of winners in a stellar career that win earmark him as one of the greats of this sport. The unusually-named Dead Cat Bounce has now won three in succession and gave the former NSW trainer Molander her first Group One trotting success since she lost ace trotter Keystone Del from her stable. Dead Cat Bounce is by the Swedish stallion Revenue from the Straphanger mare Wee Annie. It was her 13th lifetime victory.        

THREE out of three ain't bad . . . Group Ones that is. Only this time the Mark Purdon stable also bagged the Trifecta as well as Vincent, the next superstar of harness racing in this country captured tonight's $200,000 Wards Accounting Group NSW Derby at Tabcorp Park @ Club Menangle. Vincent beat Ultimate Machete and Motu Meteor to give the powerful All Stars stable the first three over the line as they completely monopolised this blue riband event. Vincent (Mark Purdon) found the front fairly easily in a 58.3s lead time over the 2400m only to be pressured by Ultimate Machete (Natalie Rasmussen) and handing up the lead. Turning for home Ultimate Machete found plenty fort Natalie and had the audacity to kick clear despite his hard run but when Mark Purdon found some clear running with Vincent he simply sprouted wings and rated possibly the fastest final quarter ever run at Tabcorp Park Menangle, 25.5s, to score a fairly comfortable win in a 1:54.6 mile rate. Officials later lamented that the mighty Vincent was a mere one-tenth of a second outside of the world record over the 2400m but there will be bigger things and Group One wins in store for Vincent in coming years as he continues to beat the best of them. "This is a very very good horse," was Purdon's simple comment as he returned with Vincent. "He is really something special." Vincent is by Art Major from the Safely Kept mare Kept For Pleasure. He has had 11 starts for 9 wins to date. Anyone who witnessed that Derby win would be happy to agree. Amanda Zammit  

There are few sights more stirring than two great harness racing horses going head-to-head in a battle royale. And that was the case in the Group One $200,000 Macarthur Square Ladyship Mile at Tabcorp Park at Club Menangle tonight when champion pair A Piccadilly Princess (Natalie Rasmussen) and Frith (Luke McCarthy) fought out a thrilling finish to this elite mares’ sprint. At the end A Piccadilly Princess stuck out her nose right on the line to beat the gallant Frith by a nose, with the winner rating 1:50.4 for the mile. Racegoers knew they were in for something special when the pair cleared out from their rivals on the home turn and settled down for a soul-stirring run to the line. Blake Fitzpatrick brought Bettorthenspecial with a strong finish to grab third but all honours were with the first two horses as A Piccadilly Princess’ earnings soared above the half-million dollar mark with her win. “She’s such a terrific little horse, there’s not much of her but she tries her heart out,” said leading reinswoman Natalie Rasmussen who took the reins for the Mark Purdon stables she co-runs with the ace New Zealand mentor. “My horse always gives you everything she’s got but I have to give a lot of credit to Frith as well, she never stopped trying – and they’re two great horses, that’s for sure.” A Piccadilly Princess is by Bettor's Delight from the Holmes Hanover mare Hyde Park Royal. A Piccadilly Princess’ win gave the stable the first two Group Ones of the night after their earlier win in the NSW Oaks with Partyon. . . . and the Purdon express rolled on – with some of their best prospects still to come. Amanda Zammit

Not that he needed any incentive, but the sight of his 90-year-old father Roy striding through the gates of Tabcorp Park Menangle tonight signalled the start of a big night for champion harness racing trainer-driver Mark Purdon. A little over an hour later Purdon landed the first Group One of the evening, the HQ Insurance NSW Oaks, with a masterful drive to score with his latest 'female' stable star in Partyon. Caught behind the leader, Takara Truffle for most of the race, it was always going to be a case of simply being given a chance to get a crack at her rivals in the straight for Partyon ($2.50) to be the one to beat. Still Purdon remained patient and turning for home extricated his filly from the pocket behind the leader coming wide on the track as the $2.40 favourite Petacular (Michael Stanley) made a dash for home. "I was a bit anxious turning for home, I'll admit," said Purdon afterwards. "But once she [Partyon] got a crack at them she was just too good on the night. "She's done a great job for us since joining the stable, this filly and she's now remained unbeaten." Partyon rated 1:56.2 for her last mile to defeat Petacular and outsider Eliza Dushku (Amanda Turnbull) who zoomed home along the pegs to just hold out Shezallapples for third. Partyon is by Bettor's Delight from the Beach Towel mare Beach Parade. Partyon has now won $397,000 from her nine lifetime starts. Purdon was quickly off the podium to chase more Group One glory in later races. Amanda Zammit

Harness Racing New South Wales advises that Our Dream About Me, which is engaged in the Macarthur Square Ladyship Mile (Group 1) at Tabcorp Menangle Park tonight is scratched from the race. Trainer Mr M Purdon informed HRNSW Stewards that after training Our Dream About Me this morning, at the Menangle Park Training Centre, he was not completely satisfied with the mare and at 7.38am requested it be scratched from the race. The first emergency for the Ladyship Mile, Tact Hayleys Delight, is taking the run and will start from barrier nine. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600       

If Lazarus is to cap one of the great summers in New Zealand harness racing history, he is going to have to do it the hard way. That is the reality of tonight's A$750,000 Miracle Mile, the centrepiece of a stunning night at Menangle where Kiwi horses are favoured to win five group ones inside 140 minutes. The meeting is the strongest held at Menangle since it opened in 2008 but good as the support card is, the Miracle Mile is the race people will remember, especially if Lazarus wins. After his New Zealand Cup demolition job, a similar display in the Victoria Cup and bullying wins in the NZ Free-For-All, Chariots of Fire and Ashburton Flying Stakes, if Lazarus wins tonight his body of work sits alongside the golden summers of Christian Cullen, Christopher Vance and Chokin. But first he has to win and to do that he may need to add a new string to his bow. Lazarus is at his most crushing when able to lead and run consistently searing sectionals which deter challengers before rolling into a quick last 800m. But there is next to no chance of him leading tonight and trainer-driver Mark Purdon admits that if a fast tempo allows him to drive the champ sit-sprint something special could unfold. "I have never really had the chance to drive him cold before and I think he might love it," said Purdon. "I am pretty sure Hectorjayjay will lead and if he tries to go slow then I might have to come sit parked. "But if the pressure is on and we follow the right horse into the race, then he might come out and really sprint." With Lazarus likely to settle midfield at best in a race where swooping victories are rare, those who take the short odds tonight could be in for some uncomfortable times. But he is still the best horse in the race and Purdon believes having a week off from racing has helped bring both him and stablemate Our Waikiki Beach on. "They sprinted up together well on Thursday morning and I am sure they will both be better than in the Chariots two week ago." Purdon has already had one win going into tonight's meeting, where he trains all five New Zealand favourites. Auckland Cup winner Our Dream About Me, who has struggled with corns, passed a NSW stewards-ordered vet check yesterday and is almost certain to start in the A$200,000 Ladyship Mile. "She had a small corns issue and we have been working hard to get her to the race. "She hasn't missed any real work but it is going to be tough for her without a lead-up race and while she is a great mare, Piccadilly Princess has to be at least as good a chance now." Purdon favours Vincent from the ace draw over stablemates Ultimate Machete and Motu Meteor in tonight's NSW Derby, while Partyon's inside second line draw in the NSW Oaks may not be as bad as it looks. She follows out a fast beginner in Takara Truffle and may be able to get a tactical advantage over arch-rival Petacular. The night's other Group One pace looks the trickiest for the Kiwis, with Have Faith In Me and Chase The Dream both coming off hard summers into an even free-for-all tonight. - NZ Herald Read more by Michael Guerin  Email Michael Guerin

This Miracle Mile and the support card that goes with it shapes as one of the best we have seen.  Our Aussie correspondent ADAM HAMILTON casts his expert eye over the major races at Menangle On Saturday night. RACE 7 - MIRACLE MILE  Think LENNYTHESHARK (6) is the value. Primed after three runs from a break, huge second in this race last year and drawn best of the big trio. HECTORJAYJAY (10) should still blast across and lead, but how much petrol will have to spend from yet another bad draw? The draw is tricky LAZARUS (8) and don’t think we’ve seen his NZ Cup form in Aussie yet this trip. Still a huge chance of course. BLING IT ON (3) didn’t enjoy sitting parked last week. Vic and Hunter Cup runs fantastic. Drawn well, respect. SMOLDA (1) could place from the pole. SALTY ROBYN (5) and OUR WAIKIKI BEACH (4) also place hopes.  SUGGESTED BET: Something win LENNYTHESHARK (6) if $6 or better and HECTORJAYJAY (10) is $5 or better.    RACE 5 - NSW DERBY  On what we’ve seen from him Aussie, VINCENT (1) just needs to stay out of trouble to win. His Vic and NSW Derby heat wins were simply breathtaking. What gate speed will he show? Can he get straight away from the marker pegs if crossed early? ULTIMATE MACHETE (7) is the query. Unstoppable in NZ this season, but raced flat even though he did a power of work last week. Wouldn’t surprise to see a return to his best and a huge threat if we that. MOTU METEOR (5) keeps improving. So much speed. Dexter aboard. Respect. OUR LITTLE GENERAL (2) never looked happy last week. Better for the experience, Vic Derby win good and drawn well. Rough show.  SUGGESTED BET: VINCENT (1) to win if $2 or better     RACE 3 - NSW OAKS  The draw has opened this right up. Happy to be on MISS GRACELAND (5) each-way. Well held by PETACULAR (14) last week, but gets the chance to push forward and get a big head start on key rivals this time. Should be fitter as well. PARTYON (11) will need some early luck from inside back row. Class act, unbeaten, but this by far her biggest test. PETACULAR (14) has come back a brute this season. Controlled the heat and dashed home too quick, but very different from this draw. Expect an aggressive drive. Major player. TAKARA TRUFFLE (1) is on the up, good behind PARTYON in the heat and draws well. DONT THINK TWICE (10) was big after finding trouble in heat. Awful draw. Place.  SUGGESTED BET: MISS GRACELAND (5) each-way at $6 or better     RACE 4 - LADYSHIP MILE  Such a tricky race made harder by big queries over the champion mare OUR DREAM ABOUT ME (9). Hasn’t raced since that awesome Auckland Cup win on New Year’s Eve and hasn’t paced well in two recent Menangle trials, most notably Tuesday when she bobbled much of the trip. Can’t take the short odds on that. The old champ FRITH (2) gets her chance from great draw. Likely leader, fitter for strong first-up showing. A PICCADILLY PRINCESS (10) was monstrous last week and might have to be again from extreme draw, but gee she’s going well.  ROCKER BAND (3) blasted out to lead and upstage A PICCADILLY PRINCESS at Melton last time. Drawn well again and kept fresh. Definite claims. AMERETTO (4) resumed with a ripping run last week. Fitter, handy draw, keep safe. CYCLONE KATE (5) is back in form. Led and won without looking ultra-impressive last time. Tricky draw with so much speed inside. Rough show.  SUGGESTED BET: Something on FRITH (2) if $5 or better and ROCKER BAND (3) is $8 or better.     RACE 6 - BOHEMIA CRYSTAL FFA  Not sure where to look here. Ripper race, but so many chances. TIGER TARA (2) ran well at first start for Kevin Pizzuto stable here last week and 2400m should suit better than a mile last week. Should be improved and drawn well. Roughie with a big chance is AZTEC BROMAC (12). Actually made-up ground and didn’t have much racing room in 26sec flat last quarter behind Lennytheshark last week. Obviously needs luck from draw. HAVE FAITH IN ME (14) is obviously well down on his Miracle Mile-winning form of last year, but racing as though 2400m will suit and down in grade. TACT TATE (11) is drawn to have a cosy run and had no racing room late last week. Respect. LETS CHASE THE DREAM (7) needs luck from draw, but must be kept safe. MACH DORO (13) caught the eye last week as well. Not hopeless.  SUGGESTED BET: TIGER TARA (2) if $5 or better and something small each-way AZTEC BROMAC (12).     SUMMARY  BEST BET: R5 N1 Vincent (if $2 or better)  BEST VALUE: R3 n5 Miss Graceland (each-way if $6 or better)  BEST ROUGHIE: R6 n12 Aztec Bromac

Exciting Queensland pacer Mattgregor is ready for another big test this weekend. Fresh from his excellent effort in the Gr.1 $200,000 Chariots of Fire two weeks ago when fifth behind champion pacer Lazarus in 1:49.0 after drawing the ten hole, he gets another chance at cracking it in a feature harness racing event. On Saturday night, the fresh faced four-year-old takes on seasoned rivals in the Gr.1 $100,000 Bohemia Crystal Free-For-All at TABCORP Park Menangle. His rivals include last year’s Miracle Mile winner Have Faith In Me, Tiger Tara, Hug The Wind, Aztec Bromac, Major Crocker and Tact Tate among others. Amazingly, Mattgregor is still assessed as a C5 MO, meaning he is eligible for much easier races. Mattgregor is the veteran of 14 career starts to date but has won 8 of those starts. But connections don’t feel out of place in the open class feature. “He deserves his chance and he’s drawn much better this week compared to his past couple of starts so we’re optimistic about his chances. His latest run in the Chariots was the best run of his short career to date; we were absolutely delighted with the effort.” Co-owner Karen Turpin said. The Rob Roy Mattgregor gelding will immediately return to Brisbane after the weekend for a deserving break before being set for the winter carnival at Albion Park. During his Sydney campaign, Mattgregor scored an easy first-up victory in a career best time of 1:51.6 before a slashing second behind Dashofluck in the Paleface Adios Stakes while finishing fifth in the Chariots of Fire at his most recent start. Prepared by Karen’s daughter Chantal Turpin and her husband Pete McMullen, Mattgregor continues to develop and looms as a serious future prospect which has his connections excited. “The main aim for this southern campaign was to give him his chance to contest the Chariots and he did himself well in that series, this is obviously a very strong race this weekend but we’re in with a chance. We think he’ll be mixing at this level in time to come. “The kids have done a great job in Sydney and it’s been a great learning experience for them, it would be nice to end the stint with a big race victory this weekend. “All the family will be there on Saturday night, Jake has the weekend off before the footy season starts next week and he’ll be trackside to cheer on his horse. I’m really looking forward to the night in so many different ways.” Mattgregor is raced by Denis Golinski, Karen Turpin and her son Jake. Jake Turpin is a contracted NRL player with the Melbourne Storm. Chris Barsby

Harness Racing New South Wales Stewards advise that two runners from the Mark Purdon stable will undergo a veterinary examination at the Menangle Park Training facility tomorrow morning. OUR DREAM ABOUT ME: "HRNSW Stewards advise that on Tuesday afternoon at Tabcorp Park Menangle they spoke to a representative of the Purdon stable and information was provided in relation to the horse's condition and recent treatment," reported HRNSW Chairman of Stewards Graham Loch. "Following review of the two recent trials of Our Dream About Me at Menangle, having noted that the mare last raced on 31 December, 2016, and having regard to comments made this morning by Mr Purdon on Perth radio, we have advised the trainer that we require our HRNSW Regulatory Veterinarian to examine the horse tomorrow morning." HAVE FAITH IN ME: HRNSW Stewards have received information from a number of New Zealand-based Veterinary Surgeons regarding a kidney condition sustained by Have Faith In Me. It appears that the condition was identified and treated prior to the horse racing successfully in Australia last season. "It is our position that we possibly should have been provided with the information in the past but in light of recent performances and public speculation HRNSW Stewards are attempting to gain an understanding of the condition and what, if any, issues may affect performance," said Loch. Loch added that Mr Purdon has been advised to present the horse tomorrow. ULTIMATE MACHETTE: HRNSW Stewards have also received the results of pathology tests undertaken from Ultimate Machete after racing at Tabcorp Park Menangle last Saturday night. Following the race Mr Purdon had expressed disappointment in the performance. Wollondilly Equine Clinic Veterinary Surgeon Dr Andrew Argyle has advised the pathology results were normal other than indicating that Ultimate Machete was exhibiting signs of post virus recovery. MICHAEL PRENTICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER (02) 9722 6600 GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS (02) 9722 6600                AMANDA RANDO   MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER       HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES   22 Meredith Street Bankstown NSW 2200   PO Box 1034 Bankstown NSW 1885   T: 02 9722 6600 E: T: @Amanda_Rando   W: | T: | F:              

Just eight months ago there was just one metre that separated stablemates Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark but that gap has narrowed according to harness racing trainer David Aiken. As the two quality pacers prepare to go head-to-head in this Saturday night's Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle, it will be just the second time they have raced each other. Their first clash saw Hectorjayjay come out on top in the 2016 Len Smith Mile and Lennytheshark finished a close second, 1.2m away to be precise. "They have trialled against each other but at the races I've tried to keep them separated as much as I could," revealed Aiken. "They were going to race each other in the Inter Dominion but then we had to withdraw Lenny from the Final with his hoof issues. "There isn't much separating the pair of them now. "They are two different types of horses . . . Lenny is tougher and Hector has the speed." Both horses won preludes for the Miracle Mile at Menangle last Saturday night. Lennytheshark was the faster one of the pair, leading throughout in the Group 1 Canadian Club Sprint recording the mile in a rate of 1:50.3. "Lenny is back to his best," said Aiken. "We were really happy with his latest run and is spot on heading into the Miracle Mile." Lennytheshark is currently the equal third favourite at $6 with TAB Fixed Odds to win Saturday's Grand Circuit race after drawing barrier six. His stablemate Hectorjayjay is the second favourite at $3.80 despite drawing barrier 10. He too led throughout to win his Miracle Mile qualifier last week, the Group 1 Allied Express Sprint, in a rate of 1:51.5. "We haven't sat down to discuss what our tactics will be in the Miracle Mile but Hector will be going forward," stated Aiken. "He ran home his last quarter in 25.8 (seconds) last week and he will only benefit from the run considering it was only his third start back from the Inter Dominion." Aiken's son Josh has secured the drive on Hectorjayjay having won seven races and two placings in his 10 drives on the gelding. As the age of 23, Josh is the second youngest driver in this year's 50th edition of the Miracle Mile with Chris Geary on Salty Robyn the youngest at 19 years of age. Meanwhile, Chris Alford will drive Lennytheshark. Alford, a winner of 5893 races, has driven Lennytheshark in every start the pacer has had in Aiken's care.   AMANDA RANDO

HARNESS Racing New South Wales advises that the Retention Facility will be utilised for all horses, including emergencies, entered in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday (February 25). Horses engaged in the Ainsworth Miracle Mile must be presented at the Facility at Menangle prior to midday on Thursday, February 23. All trainers with horses entered for this race have been notified by HRNSW of the requirements for the presentation of their respective horses at the Retention Facility. Horses will remain under the supervision of HRNSW until released to the raceday stables two hours prior to the race.   To arrange an interview or for further information please contact:   MCIAHEL PRENRICE | INTEGRITY OFFICER   (02) 9722 6600 or     GRAHAM LOCH | CHAIRMAN OF STEWARDS   (02) 9722 6600 or     AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES      

Reinsman Luke McCarthy is one happy man. He believes his drive in this Saturday night's 50th Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle could not have been given a better draw. McCarthy will partner Bling It On, who is currently the third favourite with TAB Fixed Odds at $6 after drawing barrier three for the $750,000 sprint test. Bling It On will actually come out of gate two if the second emergency Major Crocker is not needed. "That's the perfect draw for him," McCarthy said. "He will be able to settle right on the speed." Unlike last Saturday night's Miracle Mile prelude where Bling It On was forced to do all of the work outside the leader and ultimately finished fifth, McCarthy will be looking for an easier run this Saturday night. "That really isn't his go but we had to work into the race at some stage," McCarthy said. "I thought he held on well and it was his first run in a fortnight so he will probably be better for it. "Drawn well in the Miracle Mile we won't have to do as much work with him hopefully." Bling It On, an A.G. Hunter Cup winner two starts ago, worked forward in that Grand Circuit feature before McCarthy handed the lead over to Mark Purdon and his pacer Smolda. And it could be a similar scenario this Saturday night, however, it could be a different Purdon runner that takes the lead. The top New Zealand conditioner has a three-pronged attack in the feature with Smolda drawing gate one, Our Waikiki Beach in barrier four and Lazarus in barrier eight. However, McCarthy believes a horse outside of the Purdon trifecta will dictate the terms early. "Hectorjayjay (barrier 10) has the gatespeed to cross and that makes him a threat," McCarthy said. "I still say Lazarus is the main danger but Hector ran a great race to win his Miracle Mile qualifier while Lenny (Lennytheshark) went super the other night as well and seems to be back to his best." Bling It On is trained by McCarthy's father John, who also prepares the talented mare Frith who has also drawn well for her feature assault at Menangle on Saturday night. Frith has drawn barrier two for the Group 1 Ladyship Mile, a race she won last year. "That's a super draw for her," McCarthy said. "I was really happy with her first up run and she will be a lot fitter for it."   AMANDA RANDO MEDIA & COMMUNICATIONS MANAGER HARNESS RACING NEW SOUTH WALES                  

The barrier draw for the Group 1 New South Wales Derby has been conducted this morning at Harness Racing NSW. The Mark Purdon trio Vincent, Motu Meteor and Ultimate Machete have all drawn the front row while 2400m world record holder Atomic Red has drawn wide in barrier nine. See full field for the $200,000 classic that will take place at Tabcorp Park Menangle this Saturday night (February 25). RBD. 2400m. MS.         1--1r1  VINCENT, by Art Major - Mark Purdon 3C7 FT 2--312 OUR LITTLE GENERAL, by Mach Three - Chris Alford 3C1 FT 3--515  MAXENTIUS, by Mach Three - Blake Fitzpatrick 3C1 FT Em 1 4--214  HES MY MATE, by Passmaster Hanover - Mitchell Reese 3C2 FT 5--121 MOTU METEOR NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 3C5 FT 6--213 OUR TRIPLE PLAY NZ, by Shadow Play - Brad Hewitt 3C1 FT 7--113 ULTIMATE MACHETE NZ, by Bettor's Delight - Mark Purdon 3C5 FT 8--432  ASTRIDE, by Somebeachsomewhere - Luke McCarthy 3C0 FT 9--s11  ATOMIC RED, by Rocknroll Hanover - Amanda Turnbull 3C2 FT 10--124  PRETTY HOT, by Courage Under Fire - Bernie Hewitt 3C1 FT ----------------------------------Second Row-------------------------- 11-553 WARDAN EXPRESS, by Art Major - Amanda Turnbull 3C1 FT 12--522  CONVICTION, by For A Reason - Amanda Turnbull 3C0 FT 13--114  REDBANK BLAZE, by Rocknroll Hanover - KerryAnn Turner 3C4 FT 14--s15  ROLL WITH ME, by Roll With Joe - Blake Fitzpatrick 3C1 FT ODM Em 2 AMANDA RANDO

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