This is the night

ONE of harness racing’s biggest meetings on the calendar will take place at Menangle on Saturday night and Bathurst trainers will be out in force against some of Australia and New Zealand’sstrongest pacers.

Bathurst trainers might have missed out on a spot in the night’s coveted $750,000 Miracle Mile but there’s still strong representation across the rich meeting –where every race holds at least Group 2 status.

It’s in the three-year-old Group 1 classics, the NSW Oaks and NSW Derby (both 2,400 metres), where the city’s trainers have the biggest presence.

Runners trained by Bernie Hewitt, Amanda Turnbull and Steve Turnbullwill have a massive task on their hands across the two events.

Hewitt’s Royal Story and Taylors Reason along with Amanda Turnbull’s former Pink Bonnet champion Eliza Dushku all snuck into the Oaks final.

Punters have already labelled the Oaks a two-horse battle between Mark Purdon’s unbeaten Breeders Crown champion Partyon and Michael Stanley’s Victoria Breeders winner Petacular.

Bathurst Harness Racing CEO Danny Dwyer said it will take something special to beat the two best-backedrunners home.

FIRED UP: Atomic Red is part of the Bathurst-trained contingent taking on Saturday night’s prestigious Miracle Mile meeting. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

“I think it’s a pretty strong field. Bernie’s horse both ran fourth to qualify for the final, so it’s going to be tough,” he said.

“If any of them can land a top four spot I’d say that’s a great effort. They’ve all shown they can run the distance as well, with the heats being the first start over 2,400m for all of them.”

Steve Turnbull lines up former Australia Pacing Gold runner-up Atomic Red and NSW Breeders Challenge champion Conviction in the Derby.

Even with those titles and good form to their nameit’s going to be a big battle for the duo in Saturday’s$200,000 final.

Atomic Red turned heads with his heat victory thanks to a 2,400m world recordwinning mile rate of 1:54.4.

A similar performance on Saturday could put him in the mix.

“Atomic Red came with pretty big wraps as a two-year-old …and he’s finding that form again,” Dwyer said.

“His heat win was a bold drive and a great win.”

Ashlee Grives takes both Ameretto and My Lucky Belle into the night’s Group 1 Ladyship Mile (1,609m).

Ameretto qualified for the race thanks to a runner-up finish in the Robin Dundee Classic withan amazing comeback performance.

Despite breaking in the score up, and finding herself eight back on the pegs with just 400m left to run, Ameretto flashed home to take second.

“That was one of the biggest runs I’ve seen in a long time. She was travelling as good as anything I’ve seen when she hit the line,” Dwyer said.

“It was a bit unusual for her to gallop so hopefully she’s got that out of her system.”

My Lucky Belle battled on well in the same race to finish fourth and book her spot in Saturday’s race.

Amanda Turnbull’s chances continue with Tact Tate in the Group 1 Bohemia Crystal Free For All (2,400m).

Nathan Hurstrounds out the Bathurst representation at the meeting when he contests the Group 2 Carnival Of Miracles Stakes (1,609m) with Saloon Passage.

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