The Adam Durrant-trained Miracle Man has emerged as a serious WA Derby contender, with a strong victory in the Lex Piper Stakes (1600m) at Ascot this afternoon.
The gelding produced two encouraging runs behind Private Dancer and Nelson’s Flight to start his preparation, and the addition of blinkers today proved to be the key as he recorded his first Listed race victory.
With William Pike riding race favourite Action, Peter Knuckey picked up the ride on Miracle Man, the first time he had ridden the son of Viscount.
Miracle Man settled towards the rear of the field last week, but the in-form Knuckey allowed the three-year-old to sit second outside pace setter He’s A Parker, a move which proved to be race defining.
Durrant’s stable foreman Jason Miller
“Blinkers sharpened him up,” he said.
“He did a fair bit of work early on in blinkers, just because he was the type of horse that would look around and lacked concentration.
Miller also had his own horse Startthefriar in the race, where he battled on strongly to finish fifth.
Miller said he was pleased with the effort stepping up in class.
“He wasn’t beaten far,” he said.
“Stepping up in distance and stepping up in grade, I thought it was a really good effort.”
Once again, the backmarkers found it too difficult to make up ground, including Action and the well fancied Money Maher, allowing Miracle Man to record a three-quarter length victory.
Action showed he would figure prominently in the lead up to the WA Derby, finishing a credible second, while Media Baron flashed home along the rails to grab third.
Fairetha Stakes winner Money Maher managed to beat just one runner home, but jockey Jarrad Noske said the Dan and Ben Pearce-trained galloper would press on to the J.C. Roberts Stakes in a fortnight.