Curly James to sit in waiting ahead of Miracle Mile

Dual Inter Dominion winning trainer Jason Grimson has fired the first shot in the lead up to Australia’s premier sprint race.

Jason Grimson,
Jason Grimson, Picture: Ashlea Brennan.

When asked if the $2 favorite Leap To Fame is still the horse to beat, Grimson replied "He's going to have a hard run next week, I'll say that."

Grimson has two runners in the Miracle Mile after gun NSW reinsman Cameron Hart added a Chariots Of Fire to his burgeoning CV when he steered Frankie Ferocious to an all the way win in the 4YO feature.

A $2.70 second elect, Frankie Ferocious wasn't challenged during the middle stages in a 56.4 first half of the last mile while the $2 favorite Don't Stop Dreaming was poised to pounce in the one out one back trail.

However, when Hart released the reins, the Grimson trained Frankie Ferocious reeled off a 26.6 third quarter and backed it up with 26.4 split on the way home in a 53 last 800 metres to record a time of 1:49.4.

Those back in the field found it impossible to make ground on the leaders including Don't Stop Dreaming who finished sixth.

"It's a race you grow up wanting to win and especially this year being such a great field, I've got a lot of respect for the Kiwi horses coming across,  so to come out on top is pretty pleasing," Hart said.

Hart admitted there was a slight concern when Frankie Ferocious appeared to put in a rough stride at the winning post on the first occasion.

"I had my heart in my mouth for a few strides there, I think when he gets out on his own he loses concentration and I just had to gather him back up for a second," he said.

Hart said he opted to increase the tempo following a mid-race move by Better Be The Best.

"It was a huge last half, going past the cages once Nathan (Turnbull) made a move to the chair and I thought it would make it pretty hard for Don't Stop Dreaming and Its Merlin," he said.

"I just couldn't hold him slow enough on the bend, he just wanted to get on with it."

Earlier in the night the Grimson trained Manameisjeff maintained his unbeaten record at Menangle and booked himself a place in the Miracle Mile with an impressive all the way win in the Allied Express Sprint.

Manameisjeff wrested the lead off the pole marker Mach Dan inside the first 200 metres as they took the field through a 25.7 first quarter of the race.

Cameron Hart maintained the pressure during the middle stages and it was left to Loyalist who thundered home from last on the home turn to grab second place and a Miracle Mile berth.

On the line Manameisjeff, the $2.70 favorite, held a two metre margin over Loyalist with the Victorian pacer Curly James five metres away third.

Manameisjeff covered the mile in a time of 1:48.4.

The win was the son of Art Major's ninth in as many starts at Menangle after arriving at Grimson's establishment from the Russell Jack stable in July last year.

As the stable driver for Grimson, Hart is in the enviable position of having to choose between Frankie Ferocious and Manameisjeff as his horse to drive in the Miracle Mile.

"It's a great spot to be in and I'll probably give one of my good mates a drive in it, obviously the barrier draw will play a big factor in who I choose but as we've seen tonight they are both in great form," he said.

Meanwhile, Grimson is looking forward to the stable's dual representation in the Miracle Mile

"It's my home track and I love training horses to run fast miles so hopefully we can run a bit of time next week and hopefully we can win," Grimson said.

Emerging stayer Speak The Truth added considerable weight to Queensland's Miracle Mile assault after he scored a stunning win in the Cordina Sprint at Menangle.

Speak The Truth joins fellow Queenslander Leap The Fame who is a $2 favorite for the race.

The Shannon Price trained pacer speared across from his outside draw but was unable to cross Spirit Of St Louis and Adam Sanderson had no choice but to sit parked over the flying mile in a blistering 25.7 first quarter.

The Victorian mare Ladies In Red ($2.40 fav) moved up three wide with 1000 metres to travel but was unable to cross Speak The Truth who refused to yield in the home straight and courageously gathered in Spirit Of St Louis over the concluding stages to score by three metres in 1:48.8.

"He was awesome, we thought we had the best stayer so we decided to turn it into a staying test" Sanderson said.

Sanderson said he didn't hesitate to hold the spot outside the leader when David Moran came looking on Ladies In Red.

"He was travelling that good I thought I'd just make her work, he was just going as good as any of them," he said.

Sanderson admits he is heading into next week with a degree of optimism.

"We can win it and we'll go into the race next week with a bit of confidence," he said.

"That's as good as he's gone and he should be better again."

The second place getter Spirit Of St Louis also booked a berth to contest his third Miracle Mile after finishing runner up in the past two editions of the great race.

Club Menangle subsequently opted to use its discretionary powers and include Don't Stop Dreaming in the Miracle Mile field

Ladies In Red finished eighth after racing three wide without cover for the final 1000 metres of the race.

The 19-year-old Courtney Laker trained Curly James is the only Victorian to make the cut being named first emergency for the Miracle Mile after his third placing in the Allied Express Sprint.