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    Tall tales to flow at track record speed Tall tales to flow at track record speed

    KARLOO MICK winning at Harold Park

    MEMORIES and tall tales are likely to flow at track record speed at Club Menangle on Saturday as the world class venue pays tribute... Tall tales to flow at track record speed

    MEMORIES and tall tales are likely to flow at track record speed at Club Menangle on Saturday as the world class venue pays tribute its predecessor.

    The strong program includes the Celebrating Harold Park Cup in honour of the former metropolitan track which conducted its last race meeting on December 17, 2010.

    Popular pacer Karloo Mick, the only standardbred in the southern hemisphere to earn more than $1million without winning a Group One, was triumphant in the final event at Harold Park for trainer Barry Lew.

    As a sprightly 10-year-old Karloo Mick overcame a 20-metre back mark to account for Prince Benji and Magic Operative in 2:04.7 over a marathon 3370 metres.

    A host of the industry’s biggest names – equine and human – competed at Harold Park, which was also home to the first sub two-minute mile under race conditions in Australia.

    Grand New Zealand mare Robin Dundee created history when she stopped the clock in 1:59 to capture the inaugural Miracle Mile on March 3, 1967.

    Despite its size, Harold Park also had the distinction of hosting the biggest crowd as 50,346 people crammed through the turnstiles to watch Caduceus secure the Inter Dominion on February 13, 1960.

    Champion trainers and drivers to compete at the Glebe circuit include Merv Adam, Jim Caffyn, Les Chant, Neil Day, Vic Frost, Percy Hall, Brian Hancock, Kevin Newman, Kevin Robins, Tony Turnbull and Jack Watts…and that’s just the home state talent!

    There have been an abundance of amazing performances around the half-mile track, but none better according to our panel than Mound Eden’s in the 1971 Miracle Mile

    As expected a top field was assembled for the encounter, with Mount Eden competing against Deep Court, Neutrodyne and Bay Foyle, along with New Zealander raiders, Stella Frost and Manaroa.

    The most lightly-raced runner in the field, Mount Eden boasted 13 wins, a second and a third from 19 starts for earnings of $21,790.

    The field had a mixture of speed and stamina, but no one was aware they were about to witness one of the greatest efforts seen in Australasia.

    Mount Eden’s legion of supporters, who backed him into 6/4 favouritism, felt their hearts slump, when he wanted to trot in the score-up.

    The Jack Miles-trained stallion then went into a wild gallop just before the field was released, but to the delight of punters, the starter, Clive Salkeld, declared a false start.

    The field re-assembled, but once again Mount Eden preferred to trot a few strides in his hopples.

    Miles restrained him as he broke into a gallop, but this time there was no third chance.

    MOUNT EDEN

    Just as everyone was expecting another false start, Salkeld let them go, resulting in loud booing from the big crowd.

    The official stewards’ report read: “The starter deferred the start when Mount Eden mixed its gait and became out of touch with the field. In the second run-up Mount Eden repeated this behaviour, but as the starter believed that on this occasion it was in touch with the field, he proceeded with the start”.

    Galloping wildly, Mount Eden was 10 lengths off the field as Stella Frost and Bay Foyle raced head-to-head into the first turn.

    In what was regarded at the time to have been the fastest quarter run by a standardbred, Mount Eden caught the field and was a close fourth as they hit the first blue light.

    Miles allowed his charge to ‘catch a breather’ during the middle stages before sending Mound Eden to the lead with a lightning move at the 600-metre mark.

    Bolstered by a huge roar from the stellar crowd, Mount Eden careered away for a 15-yard win from Deep Court and Bay Foyle.

    “The terrific roar at the home turn really excited me,” Miles was quoted as saying.

    Mount Eden stopped the clock in 1:58.8, with his time only two-tenths of a second outside the track record set by Halwes in the 1968 Miracle Mile.

    He became the eighth pacer to run two minutes or better at Harold Park, joining Avian Derby, Ribands, James Scott, Robin Dundee, Halwes, Adaptor and Lucky Creed.

    In 1991, the New South Wales Harness Racing Club brought Mount Eden out of his retirement paddock in Victoria to lead the Miracle Mile field onto the track in what was his final public appearance.

    Miles, who was too frail from illness to make the trip from Western Australia to join Mount Eden, passed away the morning after Christopher Vance captured the Miracle Mile in 1:57.2.

    Having enjoyed a peaceful retirement, Mount Eden died a couple of years later.

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    Paul Courts

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