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Len Smith Mile Tips and Preview - Essential guide to the Menangle sprint on Sunday, June 25

Trent Orwin in Harness 24 Jun 2017
  • Preview of the Len Smith Mile at Menangle
  • Hectorjayjay is the defending champion
Hectorjayjay (Credit: Stuart McCormick/HRV)

Form analyst Trent Orwin previews the Group 1 Len Smith Mile (1609m) at Menangle on Sunday. 

A thrilling contest will take place on Sunday afternoon as David Aiken stablemates Hectorjayjay and Lennytheshark clash in the Len Smith Mile. The pair fought it out in 2016 with Hectorjayjay reigning supreme to defeat Lennytheshark.

This year we remove third-placegetter Ohoka Punter, a former New Zealand pacer, and replace him with another former New Zealand pacer in the form of Tiger Tara who is now trained by Kevin Pizzuto.

There is plenty of gate speed off the front line with Major Crocker, Mach Doro and Hectorjayjay likely to show the most speed from their respective draws. Hectorjayjay is electric and he looks a big chance of being able to find the lead, just as he did in the Miracle Mile from his wide draw. 

The first quarter is going to be crucial for Hectorjayjay’s chances. He rated 24.8 for the opening split in the Miracle Mile and this saw him get tired late. I don’t see the opening quarter breaking 25 seconds here and something in the 26 or 27 range will be a lot more suitable for Hectorjayjay to be able to claim back-to-back victories in the event.

He has had two runs back from a spell for two wins. The first was in the Young Pedro Free For All (1720m) at Melton in 1:53.2. He then scored in 1:54.4 over 2300m at Menangle. Tiger Tara was second, beaten 2.4m in an excellent display. 

I’m happy with black figures about Hectorjayjay in the Len Smith Mile and the speed map looks good for him. He should cross over to find the lead in the first 400m, otherwise Lennytheshark is going to give him cover as the champion looks certain to race in the breeze whether Hectorjayjay is out in front or forced to see one-one cover.

Lennytheshark is the main danger and if you’re not a fan of the seven-year-old entire, then you should probably stop following harness racing because he is a champion. The tenacity of this horse is a thrill to watch as a passionate fan and I wanted to give him a plug in this piece because if Hectorjayjay falls short, I really hope it is Lennytheshark claiming the Len Smith Mile.

Tiger Tara has each-way claims despite drawing barrier 14. He has been excellent since joining Pizzuto and his effort in defeat behind Hectorjayjay last time was great. Two starts ago he defeated Lennytheshark and wouldn’t be a surprise to see him winning.

My Field Marshal would have been an interesting runner from a much better draw. He has the inside of the second row and follows Ultimate Art who is going to be crossed at least. Five starts back he was third in the Group 2 Bulli Cup (1609m) won by Lennytheshark in 1:49.7. He could be placed but hard to see him winning from this draw. 

Major Crocker and Mach Doro both have small each-way claims, more so for the place, but they will need to produce their very best and hope the leading trio don’t bring their very best.

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Len Smith Mile Tips and Preview - Essential guide to the Menangle sprint on Sunday, June 25

Form analyst Trent Orwin previews the Group 1 Len Smith Mile (1609m) at Menangle on Sunday.

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