March 4, 2023 Michael Court
LEADING Victorian trainer Andy Gath admitted a Miracle Mile win was never part of the agenda.
His goal with Australian Pacing Gold purchase, Catch A Wave, was simply to win the $250,000 Chariots Of Fire a fortnight ago.
He did that and tonight Gath and his wife, Kate reached a career-high when the four-year-old won the $1million Garrards Miracle Mile with an all-the-way performance.
After Catch A Wave caused a false start, the gelding gathered himself and driver Kate did exactly as instructed, came out hard and Spirit Of St Louis quickly relinquished the front and “The Wave” was away.
Gath said he was just hoping Kate could get away with one slow quarter in a race he knew would be “brutal”.
After a 25.5-second first split, Kate was able to do just that with a 29.2 second split and the big crowd knew she was going to be awfully hard to run down after that.
So Kate, a marathon runner who ‘warmed up’ for tonight with a five kilometre run before heading for the track, did the rest as Catch A Wave held off Spirit Of St Louis and Honolua Bay for a 1:48.8 mile, scoring by three metres in a devastating display.
His last half was run in 27.9 and 26.2 splits to seal the deal.
“At the top of the straight I was still thinking we had a long way to go and I knew a good horse in Spirit Of St Louis was on my back,” Kate said.
“But my horse was only jogging at that stage, and I knew he could get the job done.
“I am just so lucky. Andy finds these great horses and I am the one who gets to drive them.
“This is awesome.”
Gath said the thrill of winning with a horse they love so much made him quite emotional.
“We might go back-to-back next year, who knows?” Gath said.
Gath explained he had only ever had one other runner in a Miracle Mile and that was “about 20 years ago”.
“I’m used to watching it from the grandstand or from home,” Gath grinned.
“Just to have a horse good enough to contest this race is something special.
“All along we wanted to target the Chariots Of Fire, so we didn’t think about this race until after we won that one.
“But this is the mecca. And this horse can only get better.
“Frankly, this is just unbelievable.”
The placegetters tried hard but couldn’t run down Catch A Wave, while the well-backed Captain Ravishing couldn’t get into the race and finished near the tail of the field.