Australasian Grand Circuit
Stories:  Pacers 2003/2004 Season
Leg 3:   Lindauer New Zealand Pacing Free For All   2003/2004Results   Points
              14/11/2003  Addington, Christchurch, NZ  2000m  Mobile Start  $NZ97,538
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Mile looming as a ticking time bomb

by Frank Marrion

This article was first published in New Zealand Harness Racing Weekly, 19th November 2003, and is reproduced here with permission.

Things are ticking along very nicely towards what could be best described as a time bomb - the $600,000 NSW Miracle Mile on Friday week.

Jack Cade booked his berth in the elite field in last Friday’s NZ Free-For-All along with Cup winner Just An Excuse and earlier invite The Falcon Strike, a ‘simple’ 1.54.5 winner of Saturday’s Newcastle Mile, as did Inter-Dominion champion Baltic Eagle with his gutsy 1.56.9 win in last Friday night’s Members’ Sprint at Gloucester Park.

Add defending champion and last month’s Queensland Pacing Championship winner Double Identity, Victoria’s best hope Sokyola, possibly Elsu and whoever else performs well enough at Harold Park this week to warrant inclusion into this mix, and one can see that it really doesn’t get much better.

The situation regarding Elsu was unclear on Monday however, despite Harold Park officials extending a welcoming hand to trainer Geoff Small over the weekend.

“He’s due home this afternoon and we won’t be making a decision until I’ve seen him and spoken to the owners tonight,” said Small on Monday morning.

“When I spoke to the people at Harold Park on Saturday I said we were interested, but I’ve been in two minds since.
“At this stage I’m erring on the side of caution, and just setting him for two races in Auckland and the 4-year-old races later.


Jack Cade NZ

“If you knew you were going to draw one in a $600,000 race you’d have to be there, but you have to commit yourself before the draw and it could easily be a bad one in that field,” he added.

Elsu would undoubtedly be a worthy recipient of an invitation after another fine performance for third in the Free-For-All, but there was no stopping Jack Cade from a more favourable draw last Friday, nor is there any question mark about him heading to Sydney.

It was the trip to Harold Park for the Chariots Of Fire which derailed him last season, and Mark Purdon is keen to show Sydneysiders what a top horse Jack Cade is, not to mention win the Miracle Mile after two seconds with Il Vicolo and last year’s unlucky fourth with Young Rufus.

“He’s at the top of his game right now and has as good a chance as any, but a lot does depend on the draw,” said Purdon.

“But it may also not be as critical as some past years, as I can’t see it developing into any sprint home,” he added.

The Free-For-All always loomed as a two-horse war and a battle of tactics, and it delivered, apart from the small matter of Jagged Account splitting Jack Cade and Elsu after making his own luck at the start to trail.

Jack Cade has always been seen in his best light when allowed to bowl along, as opposed to the sprint home which developed in the Cup, and Purdon made sure he was going to be able to dictate terms by wresting the lead through the swift first quarter as Elsu worked around three-wide with the live cover of Sly Flyin to face a stiff breeze from the 1400m.
After a brief respite in the pace, David Butcher and Elsu turned up the heat, but Jack Cade came home in two quarters of 28.1 to complete the 2000m in a 1.56.6 mile rate to win comfortably in the end.

This was well outside the record 1.54.9 speed that it took Yulestar to catch Young Rufus last year, but it was ample consolation after only getting wound up when it was all over in the Cup.

Elsu was two lengths away shading an equally game Sly Flyin; All Hart again performed with credit for fifth and Gracious Knight showed something like his best form by beating the rest in.

These included a luckless Young Rufus, who was squeezed and galloped after 400m, and Annie’s Boy, who was retired after finishing last.


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