Natalie Rasmussen is quite clearly, the fastest female in the sport of harness racing.
And now one of the most highly decorated too.
Already a winner of the sport’s biggest event, the Inter Dominion, on four occasions with the greatest champion of all in Blacks A Fake, the Queensland born horseperson has now claimed her first $750,000 SEW Eurodrive Miracle Mile after guiding boom New Zealand four-year-old Have Faith In Me to a thrilling victory in a Australasian record time of 1:47.5 at TABCORP Park, Menangle today (Sunday).
Have Faith In Me defeated current Inter Dominion/Victoria Cup hero Lennytheshark by a nose margin while the pacesetting Arms Of An Angel was 10m back in third.
The mile was covered in splits of 26.4, 27.4, 26.5 and 27.2 seconds.
Race favourite Beautide wilted to finish 7th after racing without cover.
“That was so unbelievably close, I wasn’t sure when we hit the line and Chris (Alford – Lennytheshark) had the same feeling. It was great to see the number on the semaphore board, it was a thrilling race and the time is just other worldly.” Rasmussen said.
Have Faith In Me is unbeaten in four Australian starts and now boasts back to back victories in Group 1 events.
The Bettors Delight – Scuse Me gelding adds the Miracle Mile triumph to his Auckland Cup success earlier this season.
Prepared in partnership by Rasmussen and Mark Purdon in Christchurch, the dynamic couple rolled the dice and elected to accept an invitation with their star pacer in the country’s signature sprint event two weeks ago after he thrashed his rivals in the Chariots Of Fire in a race record time of 1:48.8 and he has quickly claimed the mantle of the most exciting pacer in the southern hemisphere.
His winning time eclipsed the previous mark of his big sister Adore Me at 1:47.7 while it easily beat the race record of 1:49.1 set by Christen Me winning last year.
Ironically, it was Rasmussen that partnered Adore Me when she set the Australasian record last year when successful in the Ladyship Mile.
The Miracle Mile proved elusive with Blacks A Fake who contested the great race on four occasions with two second placings the best he could manage but today’s (Sunday) victory completes a vital piece in the Grand Circuit puzzle for Rasmussen.
The Inter Dominion, Queensland Pacing Championship, Treuer Memorial, Victoria and Hunters Cups are Grand Circuit events won by the 39-year-old prior to today.
Amazingly, the victory also provides Purdon with his first Miracle Mile success after running three second placings with Il Vicolo (twice) and Jack Cade previously.
And with the 2015/16 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit title up for grabs heading into the Miracle Mile, Lennytheshark secured 60 points with his second placing which was enough to tie with Smolda who led prior to today’s event.
Both Lennytheshark and Smolda tallied 260 points while the next best was Have Faith In Me who reached 200 points following his victories in the Miracle Mile and the Auckland Cup this season.