A wonderful Summer of Glory is in the rear view mirror and Sydney’s Carnival of Miracles looms large.
Unfortunately, the trifecta from last season’s Miracle Mile – Spankem, Thefixer and Poster Boy – will all miss this year’s edition but one horse’s loss is another horse’s gain and there are a handful of horses clamouring for a shot at the $1 million kitty.
King of Swing announced his arrival with a controversial but dominant Hunter Cup victory whilst a bunch of four-year-olds look capable of doing what Spankem did last season and winning Australia’s richest pacing race.
As we move toward western Sydney’s magnificent Menangle complex, here is how I see the Unofficial Harness Racing Power Rankings…
1 SELF ASSURED (All Stars Racing, last ranked #1)
Absolutely enormous in defeat in the Ballarat Cup and Bonanza. Then went onto dismantle good horses in a Chariots lead up. Acclimatising to Aussie racing as good horses do.
2 LOCHINVAR ART (David Moran, last time unranked)
Nothing would want to let this animal get things on his terms in any race. His Bonanza run was mind-blowing and you could see something special should he find the front in the upcoming Chariots of Fire. Hard to see him not contesting the Miracle Mile.
3 CHASE AUCKLAND (All Stars Racing, last ranked #5)
Expected him to peel and win the Hunter Cup but the sectionals suggested he did perform well. Proven he likes the Menangle mile and coming from off-speed to win the big one could be up his alley.
4 A G’s WHITE SOCKS (Greg & Nina Hope, last time unranked)
Superb in front winning at Ballarat and was the significant eye-catcher from the back in the Hunter Cup. Good gate speed should see him eat up the Menangle mile.
5 KING OF SWING (Craig Cross, last time unranked)
Surprised I’m listing this horse in this list but he deserves it after a strong victory in Victoria’s richest race. Dropped a 1:48.8 mile a few weeks back so who knows what he’s capable of thanks to the Cross-McCarthy polish.
6 THEFIXER (All Stars Racing, last time #2)
He underperformed in Oz and has since gone home but his resume is worlds above most in this list and he deserves his place among the top half dozen. A good spell could be just his tonic for another NZ Cup assault.
7 MACH SHARD (Barry Purdon, last time #7)
A hoof issue forced him out of the Hunter Cup. I can all but guarantee this horse would have won the Hunter Cup from behind King of Swing so it’s exciting to see him venturing to NSW for the big races.
8 COLT THIRTY ONE (Grant Dixon, last time unranked)
Won the Queensland Cup returning from a luckless ID campaign in NZ but has been beaten twice since in QLD. His best is brilliant and he could enjoy a hot tempo in a Miracle Mile or Bohemia Crystal over the 2300m.
8 MIGHTY CONQUEROR (Greg & Skye Bond, last time unranked)
An excellent WA Pacing Cup victor and a horse with an imposing record. The Bond camp travelled Galactic Star last year so here’s hoping we see this son of American Ideal on the east coast soon.
9 CASH N FLOW (Craig Cross, last time #9)
Cannot keep up when they run past a mile but his Menangle mile form is strong and he can be a factor in the next month. A former All Stars horse, his transition to Sydney’s hard-running style has been excellent.
10 MAX DELIGHT (David Aiken, last time unranked)
A wildcard with speed to burn and form at the track. He loomed up to beat Self Assured last weekend and with his immense gate speed, it’s likely he can compete in the Chariots and/or Miracle Mile, even at four.
Next up (in no order);
Field Marshal – The owner of the fastest mile in our history but is nowhere near that level at the moment.
Code Bailey – Hardly put a foot wrong but I cannot see him being a factor for another season.
Culture King – An up-and-comer who could be a factor in the Chariots of Fire.
Demon Delight – Always an x-factor in any race he contests. Often a forgotten horse.
Hurricane Harley – Has the speed to be dangerous in open company at Menangle.
Bling It On – Struggled in NZ and never struck a blow in the Hunter Cup.
Alta Orlando – Plane never left for Perth then stable mate bites him and he misses the Hunter Cup. Poor connections.
Our Uncle Sam – Another gallant placing in a Grand Circuit event but can he pinch a big one ?
Shockwave – A four-year-old Group 1 winner but had no impact in the recent Freo & WA Cups.