Ken Casellas | Photo: Hamilton Content Creators
Reinsman Mitch Miller is enjoying a break-out season in the sulky and currently sits in fifth position in the WA drivers’ premiership table with 37 winners in the first 16 weeks of the year.
But he is not getting carried away and is a harsh self-critic.
The 27-year-old Miller is looking forward to the most unusual situation of driving a red-hot favourite in Flametree in the $50,000 APG Gold Bullion final for two-year-old fillies at Gloucester Park on Friday night in which there are only two runners.
Flametree, prepared by Busselton trainer Barry Howlett, will start from the No. 2 barrier, with the filly’s sole rival Dream Control at No. 1. Flametree has won at three of her six starts, while Dream Control has managed one placing from four starts — her close second to Flametree in a two-horse heat of the APG Classic on Tuesday of last week.
In last week’s 1730m heat Flametree set an extremely slow pace. After a slow lead time of 8.8sec. Flametree crawled over the first three quarters of the final mile in 33.8sec., 33.2sec. and 31.6sec. before lifting the tempo with a final 400m in 28.8sec. She won by a metre from Dream Control, who finished with a strong burst. The winner’s rate was a very slow 2.6.7.
Asked how he was approaching the task of driving Flametree in another two-horse event, Miller said: “Hopefully, better than I approached the heat last week when I made Flametree look real average, going so slowly.
“I didn’t pull the plugs or use the whip and she won well within herself. But I made her look very average. I think she has the gate speed to get past Dream Control at the start on Friday night. Then I’ll definitely roll along a bit more than last week to try to take the sting out of Dream Control’s legs.
“Dream Control went very well last week, so I’ve got to show a bit more respect this week.”
The $50,000 APG Gold Bullion final for three-year-old fillies looks set to be a cakewalk for the brilliant Wonderful To Fly, who should dash to an early lead from barrier two and go on and win from Sovrana, Ima Socialite and Precocious Lady.
Wonderful To Fly, a winner at 14 of her 24 starts, is in dazzling form for part-owner and trainer-reinsman Shane Young, who was delighted with the filly’s effortless victory over smart colts Hoppys Way and Linebacker at a 1.57.6 rate in a 2130m event last Friday night.