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King Of Swing looks the right horse to create Miracle Mile history. Fresh from becoming the seventh horse to win back-to-back Miracle Miles, King Of Swing’s next year will be built around trying to complete a three-peat in Australasia’s premier speed test. Given he’s only a six-year-old, hasn’t been overly taxed with 67 starts and is still on an upward spiral, the powerhouse entire will almost certainly get his chance. The great Smoken Up came close to a Miracle Mile three-peat, but in reverse so speak. He ran second to Monkey King in his first attempt in 2009 and then won in 2010 and 2011. “We’ll just keep spacing his races, focusing on the big ones and hopefully he’ll be racing at this level and winning for another couple of years yet,” co-trainer and driver Luke McCarthy said. “He’s a better, more seasoned horse now than he was 12 months ago and he’s knows he’s good now, too.” After a week of talks about whether Ignatius or Alta Orlando would lead early and the difference each scenario meant to King Of Swing’s chances, it was actually Newcastle Mile winner The Black Prince who led them all easily from the pole. And that effectively won the race for King Of Swing. McCarthy was able to balance-up, then fire forward and take the front from The Black Prince without spending much petrol in a comfortable 26.6sec opening quarter. When King Of Swing hit the halfway mark in 55.2sec, the race was beyond doubt. “That’s the difference with no Lochinvar Art in the race. There wasn’t a horse to come and put the pressure on us, so I could turn it into just a dash home,” McCarthy said. King Of Swing zipped home the last 400m in 25.9sec for a 1min49.2sec mile, the equal slowest Miracle Mile in the past seven years and 1,2sec slower than he clocked to beat Lochinvar Art last year. It further capped the phenomenal success story of King Of Swing’s move from WA to NSW. In 18 starts for Cobbity Farms – first Craig Cross and now Belinda McCarthy – King Of Swing has won 14 times, finished second three times and third once. He’s won almost $2 million in that time. “It’s a combination of things, the swimming and water walker at our place and how much he loves racing at this big track,” Luke McCarthy said. “We loved him from the day he arrived and he’s just kept getting better.” King Of Swing will now have a short break before being set to defend his Group 1 Blacks A Fake crown at Albion Park in July. “He’ll be back to have a couple of lead-up runs, probably at Menangle, and then head back to Queensland,” McCarthy said. Stablemate Expensive Ego continued the terrific recent record of Chariots Of Fire winners in the Miracle Mile when he produced the run of the race for second after stand-in driver David Moran made a midrace move to sit parked. It’s the five year in a row the Chariots winner has been placed in the Miracle Mile. “It was another step-up for him and gee he went great,” McCarthy said. “King was always holding him, but he just keep giving. He’s come so far, so quickly.” “He’s been invited to that new race in Queensland, the Rising Sun, and that’s his next big target. He’ll have just a short break now and get ready for that in winter.” Anthony Butt was thrilled with the strong finish of his emerging star Wolf Stride to snatch third. “It was another huge run to make up that sort of ground after the winner got things all his own way. He just keeps stepping-up,” he said. Butt will decide this week whether to keep Wolf Stride going for the $100,000 Group 1 NSW 4&5YO Championship at Wagga on April 4. “I want to give him a good spell and I’d turn him out now if Lochinvar Art was going to Wagga, but that sounds unlikely so I’m leaning towards keeping him going for that race,” he said. Star Kiwi mare Stylish Memphis, lining-up for the fifth consecutive week, smashed the clock again despite only finishing sixth. “Mark’s talking about leaving her here and targeting the Queensland Winter Carnival, but there’s a chance she could duck back home for the Harness Jewels,” caretaker trainer and driver Jack Trainor said.   by Adam Hamilton

He’s done it again. Hulking pacer King Of Swing has recorded back-to-back victories in Australasia’s premier speed test, the $1 million Garrards Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle last night (Saturday) leading basically all of the way in a time of 1:49.2 defeating his stablemate Expensive Ego and Wolf Stride. The Rocknroll Hanover entire becomes the seventh pacer to record back-to-back victories in the feature sprint joining the likes of Westburn Grant (1989/90), Chokin (1993/94), Holmes DG (1999/2000), Sokyola (2003/04), Be Good Johnny (2005/06) and Smoken Up (2010/11). Only King Of Swing and Smoken Up have gone back-to-back at Menangle when the race was moved from Harold Park back in 2009. West Australian Village Kid also won two Miracle Miles, but the wins were split by New Zealand pacer Master Mood. The victory provides trainer Belinda McCarthy with her second Miracle Mile trophy after scoring with Baby Bling back in 2013 while her husband driver Luke also registered his second win after partnering King Of Swing last year. Their pair of victories places them alongside John (father & father-in-law) as dual winners of the famed sprint. King Of Swing becomes the first pacer to record back-to-back victories for two different trainers, Craig Cross prepared him last year while McCarthy put the polish on the six-year-old last night. McCarthy becomes the most successful female trainer in the event’s history with two victories although Natalie Rasmussen was part of both Have Faith In Me (2016) and Spankem (2019) but not officially recognized as part of the training combination back in 2016. Also, it’s the second straight year where Luke McCarthy has beaten David Moran (Expensive Ego) in the feature following King Of Swing downing Lochinvar Art last year. With the McCarthy stable providing three (3) of the eight (8) starters, they finished 1st, 2nd and 5th while the last stable to have three starters in the race was the All Stars (Mark Purdon & Natalie Rasmussen) back in 2019 and they finished 1st, 2nd and 4th. King Of Swing becomes the 15th richest Australia/New Zealand bred pacer with earnings of $2,298,796. The list of pacers ahead of him includes Blacks A Fake, Im Themightyquinn, Lazarus, Smoken Up, Monkey King, Lennytheshark, Christen Me, Bit Of A Legend, Shartin (mare), Smolda, Terror To Love, Tiger Tara, Chicago Bull and Changeover. The list of pacers he leapfrogged includes Shakamaker, Our Sir Vancelot, Beautide, Village Kid, Westburn Grant, Elsu, Flashing Red, Holmes DG, Master Musician, Sokyola, Bling It On, Yulestar, Washakie, Chokin, Auckland Reactor, Have Faith In Me, Christopher Vance and Luxury Liner. Also, he has become the 7th highest earning stallion behind Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Bit Of A Legend, Terror To Love, Tiger Tara and Changeover. With early fireworks expected, The Black Prince used his inside draw to repel Alta Orlando while King Of Swing floated forward without being chased hard. By the end of the first quarter, King Of Swing had found the front and assumed full control on the race. The first quarter was timed in 26.6 seconds. Heading by the half, King Of Swing dictated terms in front while Expensive Ego moved up on his outside leaving The Black Prince in the trail with Alta Orlando sitting one, one back. The second split was timed in 28.6 seconds with the first half covered in 55.2 seconds. It was the slowest opening half of a Miracle Mile since 2013 (Beautide) when they paced a 55.4 opening half. Since being staged at Menangle, other slower opening halves include Smoken Up (x2 – 56.6 & 56.2) and Monkey King (55.6). Approaching the home turn, King Of Swing was in full control. The third quarter was timed in 28.1 seconds. In the home straight, King Of Swing defied running down and held a game Expensive Ego while Wolf Stride producing another great effort to snatch third. The final split was timed in 25.9 seconds. The winning time was 1:49.2. Last year, King Of Swing clocked a career best time of 1:48.0. Since switching from Gary Hall in Perth, King Of Swing takes his Menangle record to 12 wins from 14 starts. Under the care of Cross and now McCarthy, King Of Swing has won 14 of his 18 starts while banking more than $1.8 million He was placed in the four defeats. Amongst his 14 victories, nine have been recorded in sub 1:50 time with a ‘PB’ of 1:48.0. King Of Swing is raced by Beth Richardson, Mark Congerton, GO Racing (Mick Harvey), Karen Hall, Glen Moore, Sylvie MacGregor plus Rob and Frank Patriarca. The victory also catapults King Of Swing back into the lead of the Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit after two races, Lochinvar Art won the opening leg (Hunter Cup) with King Of Swing finishing third before gaining maximum points last night. As the reigning APG Grand Circuit champion, King Of Swing now has 140 points while Lochinvar Art has 100. The next leg of the 2021 APG Grand Circuit is the Gr.1 $250,660 TAB Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 24 – another race he won last year!   Chris Barsby

Going back-to-back in Australasia's greatest harness racing sprint race was never going to be easy. Yet King Of Swing made it look that way with another remarkable Group 1 success in tonight's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Belinda McCarthy-trained and Luke McCarthy-driven superstar did everything he had to in surging to a two-and-a-half metre win over stablemate Expensive Ego (David Moran) and Wolf Stride (Anthony Butt). The predicted early fireworks never really eventuated as The Black Prince held the front from gate one before King Of Swing moved up to his outside and quickly worked past him to take the lead. Watch the race replay click here! To be honest the rest of them were never a chance to run down the superstar son of Rocknroll Hanover as he rated 1:49.1 to win virtually as he pleased. "He's such a smart horse . . . and he's a pleasure to drive," said Luke. "He's had a fairly easy week with plenty of swimming and a few canters and he was right on his game tonight." McCarthy explained that as a professional driver he had a job to do and like the other drivers had to keep his mind on the job and not let the pressure be a factor. "I have so much confidence in this horse . . . he's just a superstar," he said. "He has stamina, he has speed and is just so strong and we really haven't found the bottom of him yet. "Winning a race like this is just such a thrill. "I know it's hard to compare horses from different eras and I've driven some good ones. "But King Of Swing is close to being the best horse I have driven. "And he just keeps getting better; he's unreal." While the race is renowned for the speed it brings, King Of Swing didn't let the others into the race. After a 26.6s first split of the mile he was actually able to 'walk', by his standards in the second split, which was a leisurely 28.6s. That left plenty of fuel in the tank as McCarthy upped the ante with a 28.1 third split before zooming home in 25.9 to give nothing else a chance. Expensive Ego tried hard and lost no admirers with his plucky second while Wolf Stride was one of the few to make ground late for third, albeit four and a half metres behind the second horse. For Menangle racing results click here!   Mandy Madern Club Menangle

DAVID Moran came to Sydney planning to deny Team McCarthy tonight’s $1million Garrards Miracle Mile at Menangle — now he wants to win it for them.  Australasia’s richest harness race hasn’t panned out exactly how Victorian-based Moran hoped after he was forced to scratch his long-time favourite Lochinvar Art because of hoof trouble.  But Moran has been stabled at Belinda and Luke McCarthy’s property and got the surprising call from his frenemies to drive second favourite Expensive Ego in tonight’s great race.  “Sure, I’d love to be out there with Arty but he is actually still a a bit sore so we made the right decision pulling him out,” says Moran.  “And now I am on a really good chance thanks to Belinda and Luke and when I roll onto to the track I won’t be thinking about what could have been, I’ll be trying to win.” Expensive Ego was driven by Luke McCarthy to win the Chariots Of Fire two weeks ago and appeals as the greatest danger to stablemate and hot favourite King Of Swing tonight, sitting close to the speed and finishing hard.  For Moran the last few weeks have opened his eyes to just why Team McCarthy is so dominant.  “What they have build on this property is incredible,” explains Moran.  “They have a jog track on an incline, as well as a straight track on an incline, water walkers, normal walkers so the horses are rock hard fit but they get that way without too much pressure being put on their legs.  “So you can see why they are so successful, it is unlike anything else I have seen.” For all the usual pre-Miracle Mile tactics chat the reality is it will take something special to stop King Of Swing defending his title.  He has much higher gate speed than he is usually asked to show and he is likely to be in front after 400m in a race that appears to lack attackers. Even allowing for the class of the swoopers like Expensive Ego, Wolf Stride and Stylish Memphis the sectionals may play against them.  “All three of ours are exactly where they need to be but King is the clear one to beat. And I am confident he will get the lead,” says McCarthy.  The champion horseman rates Mach Shard (R5, No.3) is next best of the night while Moran can get further compensation in the $200,000 NSW Derby with Patsonthebeach (R6, No.8).   by Michael Guerin

WINNING post still frames can often be deceiving. Especially when the barest of margins decide the result. But even 20 years on, in an iconic image of the final moment of the 2001 Miracle Mile, there is no doubting who would be crowned as our champion on that memorable night. It’s impossible to miss. Pure joy pouring out. The best of racing captured with the click of a button. Steve Turnbull punching the air and saluting the big Harold Park crowd. Then came the reality. The uncertainty. A split moment that felt like an eternity for the popular reinsman and connections. Had he won? Had his final flurry down Harold Park’s famous straight been enough? A mix of emotions quickly rushed through the Bathurst horseman’s mind as he waited to hear if he had just won the 2001 Miracle Mile with his beloved pacer Smooth Satin. Even race caller Kevin Thompson could see there was not much between Smooth Satin and the race favourite Courage Under Fire.  “Courage Under Fire is in front, Hancock pulls the stick, Smooth Satin is wearing him down,” called Thompson. “Courage Under Fire, Smooth Satin, Smooth Satin I think got him on the line . . . it’s close!  “I’ll give it to Smooth Satin a nose!” As this was broadcasted, out on the track a different conversation was happening. “I gave a big salute and Colin De Filippi turned to me and said ‘did you get it?’ and I turned to him and said I just made a horrible fool of myself if I haven’t,” Turnbull recalled. Smooth Satin was declared the winner by a half-head, giving the then 46-year-old Turnbull the most significant win of his career. “The Miracle Mile is harness racing’s Melbourne Cup, it doesn’t get much better than that and to win it was just unreal,” said Turnbull.  “I was there when Dad won it, I had been around in it before as a driver but not as a trainer as well and it was a big moment for me. “At the time it was an invitational race and only the best six horses in Australasia were asked to be in it.” Turnbull’s father, the legendary Tony Turnbull, won the 1974 Miracle Mile with Hondo Grattan. Yet, even though 2001 was the year Turnbull had the best chance of getting a horse in the ultimate speed test with Smooth Satin quickly climbing the ranks, he thought he missed the opportunity. “I was devastated because I thought I missed out on being invited after he was defeated in the lead-up Sprint the week before,” said Turnbull. “I left the track that night gutted and stressed that I had done the wrong thing by the horse and lost all chance of getting into the Miracle Mile. “By the time we were at the Toll, John Dumesny called to say we have a spot in the field if we want it. “So we went into the Miracle Mile as a bit of an underdog but I always knew Socks would try his best, he always would.” And despite this unfolding two decades ago, Turnbull remembers it like it was yesterday. “I still watch the replay, especially if anybody new comes over I always make them watch Socks win the Miracle Mile,” Turnbull admitted. For good reason too, as it is a week Turnbull will cherish forever. “It was an exciting week and the horse was spot on leading into the race,” Turnbull recalled. “There were security guards on him and a lot of hype. “My bloke had such a quick sprint and I remember Ian Thorn (trainer) telling me Brian Hancock always grabs hold the second quarter, so when it came to the race I let my bloke stride up early because he is better off sitting up front than at the back of the field. “Yulestar came around and we got some cover and the race worked out so well for us. “There was an early burn out of the gate that took it out of some of the early leaders, all working in our favour . . . you couldn’t have scripted it better.” Smooth Satin rated 1:56.9 to claim the then $400,000 feature defeating Courage Under Fire, Yulestar, Shakamaker, Kyms Girl and Holmes DG with five metres separating first to last. He was the 36th horse to win the Miracle Mile and returned the following year to finish a short half-head away in second to Double Identity. This career-defining moment feels like yesterday for Turnbull. The photo of his greatest moment in racing will ensure the memory will never be lost.   HRNSW MEDIA | AMANDA RANDO

On Saturday night, the next leg of the 2021 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place with the running of the $1 million Garrards Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle. It is ‘Australasia’s Premier Harness Racing Speed Test’ and first staged in 1967 when Robin Dundee prevailed at Harold Park before switching to its current home since 2009. The list of champions that have won the sprint feature reads deep although some obvious names are missing with the race proving elusive. Six equine freaks have recorded back-to-back victories including Westburn Grant (1989/90), Chokin (1993/94), Holmes DG (1999/2000), Sokyola (2003/04), Be Good Johnny (2005/06) and Smoken Up (2010/11). West Australian Village Kid also won two Miracle Miles, but the wins were split by New Zealand pacer Master Mood. This weekend, King Of Swing is aiming to become the seventh pacer to claim back-to-back titles following his triumph last year in 1:48.0. Oddly, King Of Swing will become the first pacer to record repeat victories with different trainers if successful. Last year, the hulking Rocknroll Hanover entire was prepared by Craig Cross while this year he races under the banner of Belinda McCarthy. King Of Swings boasts an outstanding record at Menangle with 11 wins from 13 starts, he was the runner-up in the other two starts behind Balraj and Ignatius (whom he meets again on Saturday night). The Cobbitty based mentor will be represented by three runners including the defending champion plus Expensive Ego and Alta Orlando. Only King Of Swing and Alta Orlando back-up from last year’s edition – Mark Purdon took the drive behind Alta Orlando who finished third behind King Of Swing and Lochinvar Art. Champion reinsman Chris Alford takes the drive behind Alta Orlando this year. Can history repeat? Last year, Luke McCarthy beat David Moran and the pair will battle again this weekend with McCarthy driving King Of Swing while Moran has been booked for the stablemate, last start Chariots of Fire winner Expensive Ego. If any of McCarthy’s trio scores, she will join her father-in-law John (Be Good Johnny) as a dual winner of the famed sprint after winning back in 2013 with Baby Bling. Also, she will officially become the most successful female trainer in the event’s history. Natalie Rasmussen was the co-trainer of 2019 winner Spankem but not officially recognized in 2016 when Have Faith In Me proved triumphant. Interestingly, the last stable to have a trio of chances in the event was the All Stars (Purdon & Rasmussen) two years ago when Spankem beat Thefixer while Chase Auckland finished fourth. Also, Spankem was the last horse to complete the Chariots of Fire/Miracle Mile double while the McCarthy prepared Expensive Ego is looking to join him this year. If King Of Swing repeats, he will become the 15th richest Australia/New Zealand bred pacer with earnings of $2,298,796. The list of pacers ahead of him includes Blacks A Fake, Im Themightyquinn, Lazarus, Smoken Up, Monkey King, Lennytheshark, Christen Me, Bit Of A Legend, Shartin (mare), Smolda, Terror To Love, Tiger Tara, Chicago Bull and Changeover. Also, he will become the 7th highest earning stallion behind Lazarus, Lennytheshark, Bit Of A Legend, Terror To Love, Tiger Tara and Changeover. The Roy Roots Jnr trained The Black Prince who stamped his ticket via his victory in the Newcastle Mile is looking to become the first pacer since Beautide (2013) to complete the double. Westburn Grant is only other pacer who has completed the double, he did it back in 1990. Bonny New Zealand mare Stylish Memphis becomes the first pacer to compete in the Chariots of Fire/Ladyship Mile and Miracle Mile in the same year. Prepared by 2003 World Driving Champion Mark Jones, this is his first runner as a trainer although he has driven in the Miracle Mile previously when partnering Mach Beauty (7th) in the 2013 edition. The last mare to win the Miracle Mile was Baby Bling back in 2013 while other mares that have won include inaugural winner Robin Dundee (1967) plus Norms Daughter (1996). Since the Miracle Mile took-up residency at Menangle on the 1400m oval back in 2009, only Kiwi Ingenuity (4th – 2009), Make Mine Cullen (5th – 2010), Baby Bling (1st – 2013), Arms Of An Angel (3rd – 2016) and Bettors Heart (7th – 2020) have competed in the sprint. Stylish Memphis joins that list this weekend. Driver Jack Trainor (Stylish Memphis) is the only driver competing this year for the first time while four drivers have won previously including Luke McCarthy (King Of Swing – 2020), James Rattray (Beautide – 2013), Chris Alford (Lennytheshark – 2017) and Anthony Butt (My Field Marshal – 2018). Robbie Morris (Karloo Mick 2nd in 2011), David Moran (Lochinvar Art 2nd in 2020) and Greg Sugars (Soho Tribeca 3rd in 2018) have all been placed in previous Miracle Miles. Of the eight runners this weekend, only two stallions are duly represented with Bettors Delight (The Black Prince & Stylish Memphis) and Rock N Roll Heaven (Expensive Ego & Wolf Stride) having multiple runners. The fastest time in a Miracle Mile is 1:46.9 set by My Field Marshal back in 2018 while the slowest winning time recorded at Menangle is 1:51.8 back in 2011. Since being staged at Menangle from 2009, here’s a snapshot of times; 2020 – won by King Of Swing – 1st quarter 25.9 – 1st half in 54.7 – winning time 1:48.0 2019 – won by Spankem – 1st quarter 26.9 – 1st half in 55.1 – winning time 1:47.7 2018 – won by My Field Marshal – 1st quarter 26.3 – 1st half in 53.6– winning time 1:46.9 2017 – won by Lennytheshark – 1st quarter 24.8 – 1st half in 55.1 – winning time 1:49.2 2016 – won by Have Faith In Me – 1st quarter 26.4 – 1st half in 53.8 – winning time 1:47.5 2014 – won by Christen Me – 1st quarter in 25.2 – 1st half in 53.7 – winning time 1:49.1 2013 – won by Beautide – 1st quarter in 26.6 – 1st half in 55.4 – winning time 1:50.2 2013 – won by Baby Bling – 1st quarter in 26.1 – 1st half in 54.4 – winning time 1:50.5 2011 – won by Smoken Up – 1st quarter in 26.7 – 1st half in 56.6 – winning time 1:51.8 2010 – won by Smoken Up – 1st quarter in 27 – 1st half in 56.2 – winning time 1:50.3 2009 – won by Monkey King – 1st quarter in 26.2 – 1st half in 55.6 – winning time 1:50.8 And here is a list of the eight starters this year and their quickest time. The Black Prince – 1:51.0 Ignatius – 1:50.2 Expensive Ego – 1:48.9* Alta Orlando – 1:49.8 King Of Swing – 1:48.0 Wolf Stride – 1:49.1* Out To Play – 1:53.3 Stylish Memphis – 1:49.2* *Indicates recorded at their most recent start The 2021 Garrards Miracle Mile is only the second leg of the current APG Grand Circuit and with Hunter Cup hero Lochinvar Art not starting this weekend, it provides reigning Grand Circuit champion King Of Swing a clear opportunity to retake the lead if successful while Alta Orlando is eyeing major points following his second placing in the Hunter Cup last month. Lochinvar Art banked the maximum 100 points with his Hunter Cup triumph while Alta Orlando (60) and King Of Swing (40) are poised to strike. The 2021 APG Grand Circuit takes in seven events throughout Australasia.   by Chris Barsby

He’s won the race before with the great Lennytheshark and now Chris Alford is eyeing more Miracle Mile success. Alford combined with David Aiken’s star to win the feature in 2017 and will partner up with Belinda McCarthy-trained Alta Orlando in this Saturday night’s $1million renewal. The champion reinsman was in the sulky behind Alta Orlando when he ran second in the Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup last month and expects another forward showing in the 1609m dash. “I think he’s a good top three chance,” Alford said. “I think he will go really well.” Alta Orlando ran second in the Allied Express Logistics Sprint behind Wolf Stride last weekend to secure his place in the Miracle Mile. Alford said it was a special race on the Australian calendar and it’s one he’d no doubt love to win for a second time. “It’s probably just behind the Inter Dominion. I think the Inter Dominion is the ultimate,” Alford said. “It was always an invitation, which has changed a bit now. It was hard enough to get a run in it, let alone win it. “It’s just one of those races that everyone wants to be in and win.” David Moran had expected to be driving his horse Lochinvar Art in the Miracle Mile, but will take the reins of fellow McCarthy runner Expensive Ego, who was a brilliant winner of the Chariots of Fire last weekend. Lochinvar Art had to be withdrawn from chasing a spot in the race last week due to a hoof injury. Fellow Victorian drivers Greg Sugars (Clayton Tonkin-trained Out To Play) and Anthony Butt (his horse Wolf Stride) also have runners in the race. The Miracle Mile is one of four Group 1s on the Tabcorp Park Menangle card, which includes the NSW Derby, a $100,000 free-for-all and the Trotters Mile. CLICK HERE FOR THE FULL MENANGLE FIELDS   HRV - Tim O'Connor

The Kiwi connections of classy pacer Alta Orlando have snapped-up champion driver Chris Alford for the $1 million Miracle Mile. Luke McCarthy is driving defending champion King Of Swing, which left Belinda McCarthy to work with the owners of Alta Orlando and Chariots Of Fire winner Expensive Ego to find new drivers. Alta Orlando won 11 from 57 in this country before heading across the Tasman. It is owned by champion trainer Robert Dunn, his daughter in law Jenna Dunn, and Dr Margaret Evans and Mitzi Taylor. In an exciting change of luck from Lochinvar Art’s trainer-driver David Moran, he has landed the drive on Expensive Ego, who is the Aussie TAB’s $7 second favourite. Alford was thrilled to get the call-up for Alta Orlando after getting the same gig when he ran second to Lochinvar Art in last month’s Group 1 Hunter Cup. “Luke (McCarthy) thinks he’s right back to his best and a great chance of leading them early from his draw,” Alford said. “He’s very quick out. If he’s as good or better than he was Hunter Cup time, then I’m sure he’ll run a big race this week.” Alford is chasing his second Miracle Mile win after partnering former champ Lennytheshark to victory in 2017. “He’s my only winner, but I’ve been placed a few times on really good horses like Golden Reign, Tailamade Lombo and Lenny,” he said. “It’s one of the great races and hard to win. It’s exciting to be part of it again.” Moran was bracing himself to watch the Miracle Mile with very mixed emotions given Lochinvar Art was a $1.70 prepost favourite before his hoof injury ruled him out. “I’ve been staying at Luke and Belinda’s place and they had mentioned I could be in the mix for a drive if they got a few in,” Moran said. “It’s terrific to pick-up a drive like Expensive Ego after he went so big to win the Chariots. “It’s certainly changed the race for me. I’m a lot more excited about it now.” Moran also has leading NSW Derby contender Patsbeachstorm, who brilliantly won his heat last Saturday night. Patsbeachstorm drew wide in gate eight for the final with key rivals Tasty Delight (three) and Idyllic (12) having varied luck. “The draw isn’t ideal, but he’s primed. That run last week really topped him off and did it easily in the finish the other night,” Moran said.   HRNZ

Victoria's powerful influence on NSW’s Carnival of Miracles is set to finish in style at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night. Our raiders won all three heats of the NSW Oaks before filling second, third and fourth spots in the final. Maajida won the last of the Ladyship Mile leads-up and then the unheralded Miss McGonagall ran the race of her life for second in the Ladyship itself behind Stylish Memphis. Victorians then won two of the three NSW Derby heats last Saturday night, while recently “adopted” Victorian Wolf Stride and Out To Play raced their way into the Miracle Mile to fly our flag. Sure they’ll both need luck to beat defending champ King Of Swing, but Wolf Stride seems to get better every time he goes to the races and his win last Saturday night was something to behold. Trainer-driver Anthony Butt summed it up best: “I see this like the year My Field Marshal won it for us. He’ll need others to make the race for him, but he’s certainly good enough if that happens.” In the Derby markets, Victorian pair Patsbeachstorm ($3) and Idyllic ($3.20) head the betting with another of “ours”, Act Now, fourth pick at $7. Only tough and classy local Tasty Delight seems to stand in their way. Patsbeachstorm could provide some consolation for trainer-driver David Moran, who had hoped to be winning the Miracle Mile this weekend with Lochinvar Art. Moran has loved Patsbeachstorm since day one, but almost lost him to what’s presumed to have been a spider bite about eight months ago. “He had a toxic reaction and was down and out. They can’t say for sure what it was, but think it’s a 95 per cent chance it was a spider bite,” he said. “It’s as much a relief as anything to have him back and going so well. “He was terrific the other night and I know how much that run will bring him on again for the final. It was only his fourth run after 11 months out.” Patsbeachstorm gave the classy and tough Act Now three lengths start, zoomed straight past him and blazed by far the fastest of the three heats with a 1min53.5sec mile rate for 2400m. In contrast, our other main Derby hope, Idyllic, led and had little more than a soft track workout to win his heat in a dawdling 1min57.5sec mile rate. But we know how good Idyllic is and he’ll take some beating. That said, Patsbeachstorm oozes this X-factor and explosive speed which gives him the nod in my book. Victoria will also be represented in other features on Saturday night like the Group 1 Trotters’ Mile, Group 1 Bohemia Crystal free-for-all and Tanyia Harris 4YO Mares. It’s been a golden few months for harness racing and Saturday night at Menangle will be a great way to celebrate it.   Sky Racing - Adam Hamilton

KING Of Swing has the $1 million Miracle Mile at his mercy. The powerhouse stallion is TAB’s $1.40 favourite to continue the surprisingly great record of back-to-back Miracle Mile winners. Since the race was first run and won by Robin Dundee in 1967, King Of Swing is aiming to become the seventh back-to-back winner. Those so far have been: Smoken Up (2010/11), Be Good Johnny (2005/06), Sokyola (2003/04), Holmes DG (1999/2000), Chokin (1993/94) and Westburn Grant (1989/90). The great Village Kid also won two Miracle Miles, but the wins were split by Kiwi pacer Master Mood. Recent history is also in King Of Swing’s corner with 11 Miracle Miles held at Menangle and 10 of the winners coming from barrier five or inside. King Of Swing has drawn six, but will start from barrier five when emergency One Change comes out. King Of Swing cruised to victory in his Miracle Mile qualifier, the Group 1 Schweppes Sprint, at Menangle last Saturday in what was little more than 400m dash home. “It’s just the run he needed after a few weeks since the Hunter Cup. It’ll top him off nicely for next week,” driver Luke McCarthy said. “The draw suits as well. I said before I’d like something in the middle because he gets out best from there. It’s not often we really blast him out, but he’s very, very quick when we want to, especially from a middle draw.” King Of Swing is one of three Miracle Mile runners for McCarthy and his wife, Belinda. Last year’s third placegetter Alta Orlando and Chariots Of Fire winner Expensive Ego are the others. King Of Swing’s suitable draw was made even better with key rivals like Wolf Stride (seven), Out To Play (nine) and Stylish Memphis (10) drawing outside him. ___________________________________________________________________ TOP young former Kiwi driver Jack Trainor is hoping to ride his wave of luck one race further and overcome a horror draw to win the Miracle Mile. Trainor went to Menangle last Saturday night with two great chances of driving his first Group 1 winner. In the space of 40 minutes, both won with Stylish Memphis and Anntonia flashing home to win the Ladyship Mile and NSW Oaks respectively. “This is a night I won’t forget in a long time. I thought they both great chances, but for both to come out and win is amazing,” Trainor said. Stylish Memphis’s outside draw means she will have to re-write history to win the Miracle Mile. In the 11 running since the race moved from Harold Park to Menangle, no horse has won from further out than gate six. Stylish Memphis will start from eight after scratchings. Further, in those 11 years, only five placegetters have come from gate six or wider. “It’s a huge ask now, but she’s thriving on the hard racing week-to-week and we just have to hope they run the race upside down and she can have the last crack at them with that big finish of hers,” Trainor said. ___________________________________________________________________ ALL is not lost for Lochinvar Art’s trainer David Moran during this Sydney raid. He hurriedly left Victoria for NSW just over a week ago with three horses in the float and Patsbeachstorm is the last one standing. “Lochinvar Art had his issues and the two-year-old filly I brought up for the Pink Bonnet wasn’t eligible because she’d hadn’t been registered long enough,” Moran said. But Patsbeachstorm is doing his part with two wins during the trip and heads betting for his main goal, next Saturday night’s $200,000 Group 1 NSW Derby at Menangle. Not bad from a horse who just over six months back was fighting for his life after what is presumed to have been a spider bite. “He had a bad toxic reaction. They say it’s about 95 per cent likely it was a spider bite. He was down and out,” Moran said. “It’s a relief as much as anything to have him back and going so well. He’s a horse we’ve loved since day one.” Patsbeachstorm was by the far the most impressive and fastest of the three Derby heats winners last Saturday night and boasts the X-factor of a blazing turn of speed. Classy Victorian Idyllic and exciting local Tasty Delight are the other big guns. ___________________________________________________________________ STAR Kiwi trotter Majestic Man will cap what’s already been a hugely successful Aussie raid when he steps out at Menangle on Miracle Mile night. Majestic Man has already given his young driver and caretaker trainer Brad Williamson the first two Group 1 wins of his career this trip, including last Saturday night’s $100,000 TAB Australian Trotting Grand Prix at Melton. He’s had five runs on the trip for two wins, a second, a third and a fourth and importantly has won both times when he’s led. Majestic Man will draw the front in this week’s Group 1 NSW Trotters’ Mile so can use his blazing gate speed and gets his chance to win again and post a scorching mile. This week’s race carries added importance with reports there is huge North American interest in buying Majestic Man to continue his career over there. ___________________________________________________________________ LUKE McCarthy reconnected with his roots to win the $50,000 Group 2 Pink Bonnet on Silk Cloud last Saturday night at Menangle. The exciting filly is trained at Bathurst by hobbyist Tony Higgs, who drove Silk Cloud for a second on debut but happily handed over the reins to McCarthy. “I’d have got lost at Menangle. I can’t even see the back straight when I watch Menangle on TV,” Higgs joked. McCarthy added: “This one is a bit special. It’s great to win a big race for good people and, growing up in Bathurst, I’ve known Tony all my life.”   by Adam Hamilton

Newcastle Mile winner The Black Prince and former Tasmanian pacer Ignatius were the biggest harness racing winners when the marbles were drawn for next weekend's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile at Tabcorp Park Menangle. The Black Prince's chances were enhanced when he drew barrier one for Australasia's biggest sprint race while Ignatius, a prolific winner at Menangle during his two and three-year-old years, suddenly became a serious chance in the race after drawing gate two. King Of Swing drew gate six but will probably come from gate five when the second emergency One Change comes out of the race. Had King Of Swing drawn closer to the pegs he would have almost certainly started a long odds-on favourite in the race but may now have to work a little harder to exert his superiority. With the revamped market he was listed as a $1.40 favourite. Tonight's Ladyship Mile winner, Kiwi mare Stylish Memphis will again have to come from near the tail of the field after drawing the outside of the front line, gate 10, but should come into eight when the reserves are taken out. The final draw is: The Black Prince (Bettors Delight - It's My Style - McArdle) $21 Ignatius (Roll With Joe - Ashkalini - Art Major) $11 One Change 2nd em (Bettors Delight - Changedown - Falcon Seelster) $51 Expensive Ego (Rock N Roll Heaven - Art Start - Perfect Art) $6.50 Alta Orlando (Courage Under Fire - La Ja Joconde - Totally Western) $14 King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover - Twist And Twirl - Artsplace) $1.40 Wolf Stride (Rock N Roll Heaven - Lilic Stride - Art Major) $11 Mach Shard 1st em (Mach Three - Sly Shard - Panorama) $41 Out To Play (Art Major - Play Bill - Presidential Ball) $41 Stylish Memphis (Bettors Delight - Memphis Melody - Badlands Hanover) $12   by Mandy Madern Club Menangle

Australia's most improved pacer Wolf Stride 'strode' into the $1m Miracle Mile tonight with a stunning harness racing victory in the Allied Express Logistics Sprint at Tabcorp Park Menangle. In a driving finish Wolf Stride (Rock N Roll Heaven - Lilac Stride - Art Major) got up in the last few bounds to beat front-runner Alta Orlando (Luke McCarthy) and rails-hugging former Kiwi Mach Shard (John McCarthy), who just edged out Turn It Up (Shane Graham) for third place. Last week's Terang Cup winner travelled up perfectly to Sydney, according to his trainer-driver Anthony Butt who admitted the horse had come a long way in a fairly short time for owners, harness racing fanatics Emilio and Mary Rosati. "This horse has always stepped up when we've asked him to . . . he just keeps getting better and better," said Butt. "Pre-race he can be a bit of a boy but when the starter says 'go' he knows what to do and he's actually a lovely horse to drive in a race. "This should stand him in good stead for the next 12 months. "Often the hardest thing to do is to get into the Miracle Mile. "Now we've done that we can enjoy it and hope for the best on the big night." The action came thick and fast with Alta Orlando (Luke McCarthy) and Kowalski Analysis tackled each other for the early lead with Alta Orlando prevailing. Wolf Stride settled back in about sixth spot and showed his true colours with a mighty finish in the straight to nail his rivals and win by a head in a scintillating 1:49. That alone was enough to ensure he'll be one of the toughest to beat in next Saturday's $1m Garrards Miracle Mile. To watch the video replay of Wolf Stride winning click here.  The second Miracle Mile qualifier saw King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover - Twist And Twirl - Artsplace) do exactly what everybody expected, cruising to an almost casual 1:49.5 win, defeating Out To Play (Greg Sugars) and One Change (Shane Graham) with the plucky Ignatius a close fourth. "He felt really good tonight and that run should get him just perfect for next week's big one," said winning reinsman Luke McCarthy. "I'm relieved and happy to qualify. "He's naturally quick out so I let him get there and he raced nicely after that - and he just felt super in the run." To watch the video replay of King Of Swing winning click here. That ensured six more automatic qualifiers for the Miracle Mile: Wolf Stride (Rock N Roll Heaven), Alta Orlando (Courage Under Fire) and Mach Shard (Mach Three) from the first qualifying sprint; King Of Swing (Rocknroll Hanover), Out To Play (Art Major) and One Change (Bettors Delight) from the second sprint with those horses joining The Black Prince (Bettors Delight) and Expensive Ego (Rock N Roll Heaven) in the big one with two more choices to come. For full results of tonight's program click here. Mandy Madern

Two horses that have previously been crowned the Tasmanian Harness Horse Of The Year are searching for a start in Australian harness racing’s richest race, the $1,000,000 Miracle Mile at Menangle in Sydney next week. Both Max Delight and Ignatius are searching for a start in Australia’s premier sprint race when they contest the final two lead up races tonight. Max Delight is raced by East Devonport’s Mick Maxfield and has impressed in two runs back from an injury-enforced break. The five-year-old entire lines up at 19:23 tonight, where he has been well supported in early markets ($8.00 into $4.40) and sits on the third line of betting. Trained by David Aiken, the pacer will be driven by his son Josh who was also in the sulky for the pacer’s last start win in a Group 3 race at Melton on 6 February, recording a mile rate of 1m 54.5 for 2240 metres. Mick’s son Dean spoke on Victorian radio on Friday and acknowledged the tough opposition tonight. “The horse has come back well from a lengthy spell, David (Aiken) has him cherry ripe and he has drawn well on Saturday night. We are always a chance, but there are some quality horses in that line-up,” said Dean. “Throughout his three-year-old career, David and Todd McCarthy did an outstanding job with him, and it will be no different with David and Josh,” he said. Ignatius will be having his second start back in New South Wales after a Tasmanian campaign, but the pacer’s run of poor barrier draws has continued, starting from barrier nine on the front row after scratchings in race four at 19:50. “We are not having much luck with the draws up there, but I thought his run a fortnight ago was pretty good. He was hitting the line as good as any other in the race after doing a bit of work early,” said trainer Todd Rattray about the $21 chance who takes on last year’s Miracle Mile winner King Of Swing, who has been installed as the $1.28 favourite from barrier two. “I know it is a hard race tonight, but if he is alright, hopefully he can run in the top four or five,” added Todd, who has given the driving responsibilities to his older brother James. The first two horses home in each sprint feature tonight are guaranteed a spot in the Miracle Mile, along with the winners of the Newcastle Mile and Chariots Of Fire. The remainder of the field to be selected from tonight’s sprints, the final field for the Miracle Mile, will be released tonight.   Duncan Dornauf

Kialla trainer David Moran says he feels a mix of disappointment and relief following the decision to withdraw Lochinvar Art from his pursuit of the Miracle Mile. The star entire had been the talk of the harness racing world as he fought to overcome a hoof injury in time to win his place in the feature on March 6. Lochinvar Art was required to trial at Tabcorp Park Menangle on Saturday night and pass veterinary checks before being considered for a wildcard spot in Australia’s richest race. However, Moran made the call on Friday morning to withdraw from the hit-out, with the injury not showing enough signs of improvement. “It’s the race the whole year that you try to plan for. All of a sudden you are racing for $1.2million and now you are racing for zero, so that’s a bit hard to handle,” he said. “Now that I’ve made the announcement, it’s a bit of a relief to a degree because your phone never stops ringing, you are trying to get things right and you are careful what you say. So it’s a relief in that way. “It's disappointing, but what is done is done. I've got to look after him now. He's looked after me.” Moran said with the injury not improving, it became a somewhat easy decision to pull up stumps on the Miracle Mile tilt. “We had a pretty good 12 months and it’s only a minor injury. That’s probably the best part,” he said. “It’s not like he has done a tendon and has got to have 12 months out. It’s a deep-seated abscess (and) the worst part about it is that if it burst yesterday he would probably be fine. He would be going around tomorrow. But it’s one of those things - you just race against the clock…” Moran said he was very grateful for what the horse had achieved and the support many people have given him over the journey. Lochinvar Art won the $500,000 Del-Re National A.G. Hunter Cup at Tabcorp Park Melton on February 6 to take his record to 28 victories from 50 starts and more than $1.3million in prizemoney.   HRV - Tim O'Connor

Trainer-driver David Moran has conceded his Miracle Mile dream is over with Lochinvar Art. Moran notified NSW stewards and Club Menangle this morning (Friday) he had given up the fight to nurse Lochinvar Art through a hoof injury. “This horse has changed my life and I have to do what’s right for him. He can have a break now, I’ll get him right again and we’ll be back in a few months time,” Moran said. “The hoof wasn’t getting better, certainly not quickly enough. It wasn’t fair to keep pushing on for him or other horses trying to get into the race.” Lochinvar Art pulled a shoe and pricked a hoof last Friday which forced his scratching from the Group 1 Newcastle Mile that night. His Miracle Mile hopes rested on a workout between races one and two at Menangle tomorrow night where he needed to satisfy vets, stewards and Moran. “I haven’t been able to get any work into him at home. It was time to pull the pin.” Lochinvar Art, off the back of a dominant past year including Victoria and Hunter Cup wins, was the $1.70 prepost Miracle Mile favourite before last Friday’s setback. Now he’s out, defending champion King Of Swing is into $1.80 after being as much as $3 last Friday. King Of Swing is a $1.25 to win his Miracle Mile qualifier – the Group 1 Schweppes Sprint – at Menangle tomorrow night. Only a top two finish will guarantee him a berth in tomorrow week’s Miracle Mile. The only confirmed runners so far are last week’s Chariots Of Fire winner Expensive Ego and Newcastle Mile winner The Black Prince. The remainder of the field will be finalised after tomorrow night’s two qualifying sprints and the Group 1 Ladyship Mile at Menangle.   Adam Hamilton

Driver of the moment Kate Gath has one of the biggest decisions of her career to make in the next couple of days. Gath has great reasons to drive at feature meetings at both Menangle at Melton next Saturday night. At Menangle she would do the bulk of the stable driving for the powerhouse Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin, including nominal NSW Oaks favourite Tough Tilly, leading Ladyship Mile hope Maajida, Miracle Mile hopeful Out To Play and well-fancied NSW Derby contender Idyllic in a qualifying heat. But, at Melton, the most special horse in his career, Tornado Valley, will tackle the $100,000 Group 1 Grand Prix. “It’s not a position I’m used to being in. It’s a good problem to have, but it’s such a hard one,” Gath said. “I just wanted to get through tonight (Saturday) and now I’ll have to make my decision.” You’d think Gath, if allowed, would wait until the barrier draw came out on Tuesday for the Grand Prix. As special as Tornado Valley is to her, she’s got amazing bond with Tough Tilly and the EB Research awareness cause the filly races for. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Emerging star Wolf Stride is returning to where it all started to chase a Miracle Mile berth. It was about 10 months ago when co-trainer Anthony Butt touted Wolf Stride as a future Grand Circuit player after a Menangle win and he’s well on the way. Fresh off his terrific fourth in the Group 1 Hunter Cup on February 6, Wolf Stride dropped back in class a tad and made the most of it for a dominant $50,000 Group 2 Terang Cup win on Saturday night. The race was pretty much over inside the first 600m when daring stand-in driver Zac Phillips worked through and around the field from a back row draw to take the lead from Malcolms Rhythm. Wolf Stride then dashed home in in 55.1sec, seemingly still with something in hand, to win as he liked. “He’s a pretty special horse and still on the up,” Phillips said. “All credit goes to Anthony and Sonya (Smith, co-trainer). They’ve sone a fantastic job with this horse. “Anthony’s up in Sydney and this guy heads up Monday join him. Sonya heads up then as well.” Wolf Stride will chase a Miracle Mile berth through one of the two Group 1 qualifying sprints at Menangle next Saturday night. Terang’s other feature, the Group 3 Trotters’ Cup, proved a triumph for young trainer Kate Hargreaves and her improving Well Defined. Driver Ellen Tormey stepped Well Defined straight to the front, took a trail on the tough Robbie Royale and ripped home to win strongly. Class runners Pink Galahs (20m handicap) and McLovin (30m) were well beaten into fifth and six spots. _____________________________________________________________________________________ It wasn’t the Newcastle Mile we were all waiting for, but there were plenty happy with the breakthrough Group 1 win of The Black Prince. Roy Roots Jr’s consistent open-class performer won the Group 1 Carousel at Menangle in 2018, but broke through at the highest level when driver Robbie Morris scooted him along the inside to win in a slick 1min51.1sec mile. The Black Prince, who finished third to Majordan in last year’s Newcastle Mile, also gave Roots Jr his first Group 1 success. Roots Jr was formerly based at Keinbah, just outside Newcastle, before moving his base to NSW’s Central Coast. With Lochinvar Art a late scratching, top former Kiwi pacer Turn It Up was sent out a commanding $1.70 favourite. Turn It Up spent some petrol in a early burn for the lead and had to snag back, but then surged around soon after to take the lead from The Black Prince. Despite steadying through a cosy 29.5sec second quarter, Turn It Up looked in trouble coming to the home bend and tired to finish fifth. He’ll now need to back-up and run much better in a qualifying sprint at Menangle next Saturday night to make the Miracle Mile. But The Black Prince’s win gets him straight through to the $1 million feature on Saturday week. Victorian raider Western Sonador grabbed the eye after being buried in traffic early and storming home from a mile back to finish a fantastic second. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Amidst the Lochinvar Art injury setback and Miracle Mile chaos, his trainer-driver David Moran at least had one reason to smile. His untapped three-year-old Patsbeachstorm sparkled winning his final NSW Derby warm-up against older horses at Newcastle last Friday night. It was his first run since being nabbed late as favourite when second in the Group 1 Caduceus Classic at Melton on January 30. He’s had just six runs for four wins, a second a third and oozes potential. “I wasn’t at all disappointed when he got beaten at Melton. He was only second up from almost a year out and it was six months ago he almost died. He was always going to improve a lot from that Melton run,” Moran said. “I deliberately picked that Newcastle race because it was over the (long) 2550m. It was great to be able to sit him back off the pace and let him finish off them instead of leading as he’s done so often.” Patsbeachstorm stormed home from near the rear to win by 20.7m and run his own last half in 55.3sec. He’s one of the major players in the Derby heading into next Saturday night’s heats. The others are Emma Stewart and Clayton Tonkin’s pair Idyllic and Act Now along with local star Tasty Delight. _____________________________________________________________________________________ Gary Hall Jr never ceases to amaze at Gloucester Park. He was right at his best again in the first of the features last Friday night when perfectly executing a plan and winning on comeback pacer Wildwest in the $50,000 Group 2 Governors Cup (2130m). While most thought the headstrong and enigmatic Talktomeurmattjesty would work across to the front, Hall Jr had other ideas. “I didn’t like the position that could’ve left me in, so I wanted to hold the front with everything I had,” he said. Wildwest and Talktomeurmattjesty burned through the lead time, but Hall Jr did hold the front and was still good enough to keep fighting and win despite copping midrace pressure too. It was only Wildwest’s second run back from a break and took his record to 10 wins from only 15 starts. In the other feature, husband and wife team Chris and Debra Lewis combined for an all-the-way win with Rumour Has It to upstage some glamour fillies like Black Jack Baby (third) and Always An Angel (unplaced). It was a race which has throw the upcoming WA Oaks into some confusion.   by Adam Hamilton

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