Lindauer New Zealand
Pacing Free For All
Christchurch, NZ 2000m Mobile Start $NZ97,538
Grand Circuit Home Page
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
The situation regarding Elsu was unclear on Monday however, despite Harold
Park officials extending a welcoming hand to trainer Geoff Small over the
“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.