Day At The Track

David has a spring in his stride

12:24 PM 01 Apr 2020 NZDT
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Jubilant David Miles with his brilliant three year old Focus Stride,Harness racing
Jubilant David Miles with his brilliant three year old Focus Stride
Bathurst Harness Racing Club photo

Astute Victorian trainer David Miles has sounded an ominous warning with his rising star pacer, Focus Stride.

Although the pacer took 12 starts to break through for his first win, he hasn't been beaten since. And Sky Channel host and part-time harness racing driver Brittany Graham was quick to wryly observe, a worthy advertisement for the ultimate gear-change - being gelded!

Focus Stride (Art Major-Sparkling Stride (Christian Cullen) turned 25/1 giant-killer at last weekend's rich Bathurst Gold Carnival, sitting in the "death seat" and eventually overpowering odds-on favorite Perfect Stride in the $100,000 G1 Colts and Geldings Gold Chalice Final.

But Miles believes there's still more depth to his latest star.

"He's still got a tendency to want to runabout about a bit-I reckon there might be more improvement in him when I straighten him up," Miles said.

"Without doubt one of our best decisions was to have him gelded. He's won six out of seven races since we did, and while he wasn't out of control or anything like that, he was little bit boyish and just wouldn't listen.

"He used to make a lot of mistakes in his races last season as a two-year-old, and they cost him dearly a few times."

The maturing three-year-old Focus Stride pulled out plenty in the shadows of the post to grab a narrow and upset win.

Miles has a team of 25 in work at Monegeetta, near Victoria's famous natural landmark the Macedon Ranges. He's enjoying a successful season with 24 wins and 40 placings, finishing in the top three in nearly 50 percent of his race starts.

And while he is no stranger to winning the big ones with previous success in Crowns, APGs, Derbies and Oaks, Miles admitted that, with Focus Stride, he'd taken on board the sage advice of legendary former gallops trainer the late and great Bart Cummings.

"One of Bart's best quotes was: 'Keep yourself in the best company, and your horses in the worst'," Miles said.

"So, I really did that. I aimed to bring Focus Stride quietly along through the country classes and the Gold Chalice was the first big one on the radar for him," he said.

"He was super-great and I was just so proud of him. After racing in the breeze, he was still sticking to his guns on the home corner. Then when I pulled the earplugs, he really put his head down.

"He was as brave as they come. It was a fantastic victory."

Focus Stride is raced by enthusiastic Sydney owners Emilio and Mary Rosati who, ironically, also own the vanquished favorite in the Gold Chalice, Perfect Stride, a winner of eight races from 21 starts.

Rosati, the driving force behind a highly successful construction company, divides his time between home in Sydney and overseeing massive building projects, mainly in Melbourne. He has been involved in harness racing for over 45 years.

The couple owns hundreds of horses under the E and M Stride partnership. Nearly all of their horses carry the "Stride" moniker, after one of the first they raced in the 1970s named Stride High who won nine races.

Focus Stride looks set to build on a successful association between Miles and the Rosatis.

"The Rosatis are so passionate about the sport and I've previously won a couple of feature races for them with Emerald Stride," Miles said.

"They love their horses to death, and they put more money into the sport than anyone else I know, so they certainly deserve all the success that comes their way."


Terry Gange

NewsAlert PR Mildura

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