Anthony Butt usually has a plan.

And the one he has hatched for this Saturday's A$750,000 Miracle Mile harness race at Menangle could turn the great race on its head.

Butt, these days based in Victoria, has been shoulder-tapped by Mark Purdon to drive Smolda, one of his three chances in the Mile.

Purdon will stick with race favourite Lazarus while training partner Natalie Rasmussen will drive stablemate Our Waikiki Beach, leaving Butt to pinch hit.


One of the most analytical drivers in the industry, Butt did that to perfection in his only other drive behind Smolda, leading and downing Lazarus and Lennytheshark in the Ballarat Cup last month.

And while Smolda isn't known for his blazing gate speed, Butt says that will be the plan again.

"He is a old pro who knows the rules and if I click him up in his prelim, he will be ready to go when we score up," said Butt.

"And if that is the case he will come out hard from the ace and be hard to cross.

"I realise our best chance of winning, maybe our only chance, is to lead because if he gets back on the markers the other have at least as much, if not more, speed than him. So we will be coming out hard and I think he will be very hard to cross.

"I know horses like Yayas Hot Spot have gate speed but we have the inside advantage and if one does cross us it might break the field open and we could come around to retake the lead.

"Either way, I think we have a big chance of being in front after 400m."

That would turn the race on its ear as the always confident Australian horsemen are predicting they can lead with Yayas Hot Spot, Salty Robyn or Hectorjayjay.

The latter has the most blazing gate speed in the Mile but also has barrier eight and if Butt is serious about getting aggressive early anything outside him that burns through the 400m may struggle for peace afterwards.

The race shapes as the highlight of the harness racing season, with the TAB having Kiwi hero Lazarus the $2.40 favourite over Hectorjayjay at $4.20, although you can get as much as $5.50 for the latter in Australia.

Meanwhile, yesterday's opening day of the harness racing yearling sales in Christchurch mirrored Karaka on Monday, with very good money for the most popular colts but a soft middle market and worrying lower end.