Mile Dreams Up In Smoke

18 November 2008
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Smoken Up is headed for the spelling paddock

Smoken Up is headed for the spelling paddock

Australia's premier sprint race will be run without Australasia's fastest pacer following Tuesday's shock news that Lance Justice has aborted plans to contest the Miracle Mile with Smoken Up.

The Melton trainer-driver confirmed that the six-year-old was still suffering from an injury that had hindered his entire campaign and even if he was offered one of the remaining two invites for $500,000 Grand Circuit feature he wouldn't be taking it up.
An ill-fated trip to Geelong for a trial on Monday night was the final straw for Justice, who said he was left with no choice but to spell the speedster who set a 1:51.9 Australasian mile record in the Group 1 Len Smith Mile at Menangle in June.
Smoken Up made it on to the track for the trial, but Justice scratched him before it got underway after the son of Tinted Cloud didn't feel right in his warm up.
"He's been carrying an injury for the last couple of months. It's the equivalent to a hamstring in a footballer," Justice said.
"When he's not under pressure it's really good, but once he gets under immense pressure he starts to feel it.
"We could have got away with taking him up there (for the Miracle Mile), but if you're not at your absolute best for a race like that there's no point going."
Justice knows what's required to win the Miracle Mile, having won back-to-back crowns with Sokyola in 2003/04.
The bad news for Victorian harness racing fans is that Smoken Up will also miss that state's two biggest races, the $375,000 SEW-Eurodrive Victoria Cup on December 20 and the $400,000 Hunter Cup on February 7.
The gelding was a narrow runner-up in both races during the 2007/08 season.
"He'll go out now and probably won't race until the middle of next year," Justice said ruefully.
"But the plus side is that he's relatively young for a (proven) Grand Circuit horse and it's not a major breakdown, it's only a strain - or a micro-tear as they call it - and unfortunately the only thing that helps it is a break."
Smoken Up heads to the spelling paddock a winner of 22 of his 45 starts for $539,000 in stakes.