Tasmanian pacer Ignatius has suddenly emerged as a serious contender for this week's $1 million Miracle Mile at Menangle.
A month after being considered unworthy of a start in Victoria's premier race, the A G Hunter Cup, Ignatius grabbed the last spot in the invitation-only Miracle Mile field with a brave fourth in Saturday night's group 1 Schweppes Sprint.
The Todd Rattray-trained six-year-old had a tough run from a wide draw but finished only 5.8m behind King Of Swing who led all the way from barrier 2.
King Of Swing goes out to barrier 5 for the Miracle Mile and, while driver Luke McCarthy considers that no disadvantage for the brilliant beginner, Ignatius should be much harder to beat coming in from barrier 9 to barrier 2.
Bookmakers have King Of Swing, last year's winner, at the cramped odds of $1.40 while Ignatius shares the third line of betting at $12.
It will be the fourth time in the past eight years that the Rattray family has had a Miracle Mile runner.
Beautide won in 2013, ran second (beaten a head) to Christen Me in 2014 and sixth to Have Faith In Me in 2016.
He is the only Tasmanian winner since Halwes in 1968.
Double You Tee faced the most difficult task of any Hobart Cup winner in past 20 years when he tried to complete the feature double in last week's Launceston Cup.
It's history now that he fell short in finishing eighth, 3-1/2 lengths from the winner Glass Warrior.
But is it any wonder?
Under the vagaries of the modern-day ratings-based handicapping system - including its need for a minimum topweight - Double You Tee rose 4.5kg on his Hobart Cup weight.
No other horse has received anything like that 'penalty' in the past two decades.
In fact, only three horses - Count Da Vinci (3.5kg), Toorak Affair (3kg) and Growl (3kg) - have gone up more than 2.5kg.
At the other end of the scale, Eastender and St Andrews, two of only five horses to complete the double in that period, went up only 0.5kg.
It depends, of course, on whether there is another natural topweight in the Launceston Cup, other than the Hobart Cup winner.
In Eastender's case, Gai Waterhouse entered quality stayer Fabrizio who got the minimum topweight of 59kg, leaving Eastender on 57kg after he had carried 56.5kg to victory in Hobart.
So, luck of the draw has a bit to do with it but that would be cold comfort for the connections of Double You Tee.
At the end of the day, he went up 4.5kg when the average weight rise for every other cup winner in the past 20 years has been only 1.89kg.
The seemingly unstoppable Wynburn Sheean will chase a sixth consecutive win in a heat of the Reg & Aileen Ivory Memorial Classic in Devonport on Tuesday.
Wynburn Sheean streeted his rivals again in Hobart on Thursday night, 10 days after his career-best win in the Launceston Cup.
The only time the Ben Englund-trained sprinter has been beaten in his past 12 starts was his fourth to Tommy Shelby in the Hobart Thousand final.
Wynburn Sheean has drawn box 2 on Tuesday in a quality heat that includes Sprint Gordon, Highland Wonder and Siberia, also Launceston Cup finalists.
The second heat has been reduced to only five runners with the scratchings of Wynburn Express and Supreme Shadow but includes two more Launceston Cup finalists in Quick Joey Small and Fabulous Baroque.
Next week's final has total prizemoney of $10,000.
Sheffield trainer Rowan Hamer has booked popular Victorian jockey Jason Benbow for his five runners at Mowbray on Wednesday night.
Benbow has overcome a horror run of injuries over the past decade and his story was the subject of a compelling documentary on racing.com last week.
The 34-year-old has ridden more than 700 winners, including a group 1 race, but his gruelling lifestyle as he battles around the country tracks is an example of how tough it is for jockeys not quite at the elite level.
Benbow has seven Mowbray rides in total including Magic Millions runner-up Power Magnum for John Blacker in the 2YO Maiden.
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