Mach Dan claimed an impressive win in the Newcastle Mile to become the first pacer to book his place in the upcoming $1million Miracle Mile.
The Miracle Mile will take place at Tabcorp Park, Menangle, on 5th March and the Emma Stewart-trained star has got his name on the starting list thanks to a speedy win at Newcastle.
Stewart is delighted to have made the Miracle Mile with Mach Dan and says she will keep him ticking along between now and then to make sure he is ready to fire come the big day.
"Winning the Newcastle Mile and knowing you’re going straight into the Miracle Mile is ideal," Stewart told reporters after the race.
"Now we don’t have to worry about putting him around in one of the other qualifiers next week. It certainly helps you to plan his schedule, and with two weeks between runs, he can even have a couple of light days.
"We won’t do anything different with him to his usual routine and he will just be kept ticking along quietly. The main thing is he is in the Miracle Mile, and all things being equal, will be at his peak on the night."
Mach Dan was made to work for the victory though as Balraj came with a late charge as the finish line approached.
Stewart's charge managed to stave off the threat to win by a head while Max Delight was a metre-and-a-half away in third place.
The trainer was delighted with the win and also the performance of reinsman Nathan Jack who put in a great drive.
"The other one got close, but thankfully he held on," Stewart added. "Once he got to the front he was always going to be hard to run down.
"After that early burn to find and hold the lead Nathan was able to get a breather for the next quarter, which made the difference. Nathan rated him perfectly."