Andy Baddeley and James Brewer have launched the racing department of the new multi-platform “British Miler” project in style as they battled it out to the very end for top honours round the track of the Armory at the New Balance Games, New York.

As a matter of fact, there was special stress laid on the British milers and their middle distance heritage during the presentation of competitors just before the start of the race, with ‘Badders’ called on last but one to toe the line as twice former winner.

Brewer was confident and quick to show his intensions as he settled behind pacemaker Brian Gagnon, who did some excellent job going through consistent splits of 59 (400m) and 1:58 (800m), straight after the gun as Baddeley slotted in fourth on the inside and the rest of the Brits were spread further behind into the field as they cruised round in the early to mid stages.

The pattern of the race remained unchanged until Baddeley moved past Brewer into second on the outside coming into the final third of the distance, with defending champion Craig Miller (USA) coming into the frame as well.

However, it became apparent that the affair was heading to a British duel as Brewer surged back behind Baddeley approaching the bell for the final burn-up, with Ricky Stevenson emerging into the top four from behind and briefly holding third ahead of the American.

Baddeley wound up the pace in trademark manner up the back straight but could not shake off the challenge of the Cheltenham harrier, who showed as though he could pull off a dream comeback to form moving up on the former Dream Mile victor round the top bend.

Experience told in this case, nonetheless, as Baddeley sensed the danger to drive his opponent wide coming off the curve and effectively shut all ways past him placing his body expertly into the home straight to cross the line in a solid 3:57.22 (roughly 3:42 at 1500m), with Brewer swerving onto the inside to no avail but still a happy runner-up in 3:57.92 to keep his record of sub 4 miles intact.

Stevenson had to relinguish third to Miller in the final stages in still an encouraging opener of 3:58.91 to the American’s 3:58.65 while Mark Draper showed quite short of speed after a serious season on the country to trail home ninth in 4:06.39.

For former European Cup winner Colin McCourt, though, it was anything but what he would have hoped for as he simply formed the tail-end of the finishing order in a disappointing 4:14.26, so questions remain unanswered as to his lengthy sticky patch of form.

But right up at the top, it was pleasing to see both Baddeley and Brewer surging back to form which served up the perfect tonic for the British men’s 1500m at the start of the journey towards London.

Incidentally, apart from Baddeley who had already a 3:39.16 over 1500m indoors from last year, Brewer and Stevenson qualify for the World Indoor Championships in Istanbul on their times.

Results

1.Andy Baddeley 3:57.22, 2.James Brewer 3:57.92, 3.Craig Miller (USA) 3:58.65, 4.Ricky Stevenson 3:58.91,…, 9.Mark Draper 4:06.39, 13.Colin McCourt 4:14.26

http://www.armorytrack.com/Meet/34/New-Balance-Games/#319

Rich Peters almost made four Brits inside four minutes over the distance at this early stage two days earlier, incidentally, as he won just outside that famous benchmark in what was a virtual solo run in 4:00.13 at the Five Way Meet in Boston Machaccusetts, with Angus McDonald second a long way behind in 4:08.61.

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