Mile a litmus test for Melito
Autumn aspirations go on the line in Chipping Norton
S A T U R D A Y ’ S C h i p p i n g Norton Stakes will be a litmus test for the rest of Melito’s autumn carnival aspirations.
The reigning NSW Champion for her deeds as a s p r i n t e r l a s t a u t u m n , Melito’s f ocus t his t i me around is on getting a strong 1600 metres with the $ 2 million Doncaster Mile in April the jewel in the crown.
The Group One Chipping Norton at Warwick Farm will be her first test at 1600m since the spring of 2009 but trainer Gerald Ryan points to her first-up win in the Apollo Stakes ( 1400m) as a guide.
Melito raced on the pace and drew away from the favourite Hot Danish to win comfortably and Ryan sees no reason why she can’t do the same on Saturday.
‘‘ She worked really nicely this morning and I’m happy with how she’s done since the Apollo,’’ Ryan said.
‘‘ Everything is going how we want it to.’’
Melito was gi ven 5 4 kg w h e n w e i g h t s f o r t h e Doncaster were released yesterday with Whobegotyou topweight with 58kg.
Star mares Black Caviar and More Joyous received 57kg and 56.5kg respectively.
Whobegotyou will carry half a kilo more than last year’s Chipping Norton winner Theseo.
‘ ‘ I ’ m h a p p y wi t h weight,’’ Ryan said.
‘ ‘ I t ’ s t hree kilos weight-f or-age and pretty much what pected.’’
With Corey Brown riding in Melbourne, Melito was partnered for the first time by Brenton Avdulla in the Apollo and he retains the
t h a t under t hat’s I ex- mount. After recently outriding his claim, Avdulla joined the senior ranks in Sydney and has more than held his own.
He rode a feature double at Rosehill on Saturday when he steered Decision Time to win the Fireball Quality and Ilovethiscity to take out the Hobartville Stakes.
There were 15 entries taken for Chipping Norton yesterday including former Macau champion Luen Yat Forever who came to Australia for the Cox Plate and remained here in the care of Peter Moody.
Gai Waterhouse has four entries – Caulfield Cup winn e r D e s c a r a d o , L o r n e Dancer, Once Were Wild and Theseo.
Chris Waller has nominated Danleigh and Metal Bender, Joe Pride has Sacred Cho i c e a n d Vi s i o n And Power while David Payne also has two entries – Centennial Park and Illustrious Blue.