Victorian pacer Lennytheshark scored a thrilling victory in tonight’s (Saturday) Gr.1 $750,000 Ainsworth Gaming Technology Miracle Mile at TABCORP Park, Menangle, and the 50th edition of Australasia’s premier speed test.
A runner-up last year, Lennytheshark ($5.50) sat without cover in the 1609m contest before holding off Smolda ($10.20) by a half-head margin with race favourite Lazarus ($2.20) a further two metres away in third in a time of 1:49.1.
The breakdown was 24.8, 30.3, 28.2 and 25.9 seconds.
The time was well outside of the race record set last year by Have Faith In Me at 1:47.5.
It was the first victory for Lennytheshark on the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit.
The victory was also the first since Smoken Up back in 2010 where the winner of the Miracle Mile has sat without cover – a first over crush!
Lennytheshark becomes the 10th pacer to claim the Miracle Mile/Inter Dominion double joining the likes of Beautide, Smooth Satin, Our Sir Vancelot, Westburn Grant, Our Maestro, Village Kid, Preux Chevalier, Young Quinn and Hondo Grattan.
It was the 22nd victory in the event by a stallion, the Four Starzzz Shark – Botswana entire becoming the first since the mighty Christian Cullen proved successful back in 1998.
And Lennytheshark now becomes the highest earning stallion in the southern hemisphere with earnings of $2,560,890 eclipsing Terror To Love.
The overall record belongs to the incomparable Queensland champion Blacks A Fake with $4,575,456.
The victory provided both trainer David Aiken and driver Chris Alford with their maiden success in the great race.
For Alford, he has now claimed the Australian Grand Slam with victories in the Inter Dominion, Victoria and Hunter Cups and the Miracle Mile.
Alford joins Natalie Rasmussen, Chris Lewis, Barry Perkins and Brian Gath as winners of the Big 4!
It was his fifth drive in the Miracle Mile following placings previously with Golden Reign (1994 – Chokin), Tailamade Lombo (1998 – Christian Cullen, 2000 – Holmes D G) and Lennytheshark last year when second behind Have Faith In Me.
The early burn was set-up by Hectorjayjay who charged across the face the field to lead from the wide draw while Smolda attempted to go with him from his inside draw.
The 24.8 opening split is the fastest opening quarter in a Miracle Mile.
Hectorjayjay led the way with Lennytheshark parked outside him while Lazarus worked into a one wide trail.
As the field hit the half way point, the second quarter was timed in 30.3 seconds.
Hectorjayjay continued to lead his stablemate Lennytheshark while the All Stars team of Mark Purdon and Natalie Rasmussen lurked dangerously.
Smolda was sitting behind Hectorjayjay, Lazarus in the one out, one back trail while Our Waikiki Beach tracked Lazarus.
As the field passed the 400m mark, the third quarter was timed in 28.2 with Hectorjayjay still in front while the moves were being made behind him.
In the straight, Lennytheshark raced to the front while Lazarus and Our Waikiki Beach loomed on his outside and Smolda probed for an inside run.
Under the urgings of Alford, Lennytheshark failed to surrender and fought off his rivals.
The last 400m timed in 25.9 seconds.
“He’s an unbelievable horse.” Alford said. I’m so proud of him and he deserves this victory.
“He gets the job done, I wasn’t sure at the 100m or 50m mark but he wouldn’t give in.”
Lennytheshark is owned by Kevin Riseley and his son Martin.
The final leg of the 2016/17 Australian Pacing Gold Grand Circuit takes place in the sunshine state with the running of the $200,000 UBET Blacks A Fake at Albion Park on July 15.
The latest points table for the APG Grand Circuit;
Lazarus – 240 points
Smolda – 185
Bling It On – 165
Lennytheshark – 140