Barrier to force Melito forward in Chipping Norton
THE outside barrier means Chipping Norton Stakes favourite Melito will have to be ridden forward, but the mare will not be fighting for the lead.
Melito returned to racing this autumn with a brilliant win in the Apollo Stakes ( 1400m) when Brenton Avdulla took the initiative and stalked Hot Danish until cracking her in the straight.
Avdulla is likely to be told to do the same again on Saturday depending on how the Warwick Farm track is playing.
‘‘ Our hand has probably been forced by the barrier,’’ trainer Gerald Ryan said. ‘‘ She will have to go forward again. ‘‘ I’ll need to have a look at any bias there may be at Warwick Farm.
‘‘ Theseo is the obvious leader but I’m not going to worry too much about the race.
‘‘ I think she deserves to be favourite, she is a good mare in form.’’
Melito was at $ 3.60 in early markets yesterday ahead of Melbourne Cup runner-up Maluckyday ($ 5), Danleigh ($ 6) and Centennial Park ($ 6.50).
Once Were Wild ($ 7.50) was the shortest of four runners for Gai Waterhouse with stablemate and last year’s winner Theseo at $ 8.50.
The other Waterhouse runners are Caulfield Cup winner Descarado ($ 26) and Lorne Dancer ($ 31).
Theseo and Descarado are kicking off their autumn campaigns in the Chipping Norton, Once Were Wild ran an eye-catching fourth in the Apollo while Lorne Dancer has had two unplaced runs so far this time.
Waterhouse said she was happy with all four and did not think Theseo, who is drawn directly inside Melito, necessarily had to lead to win.
‘‘ He will be up there of course but I think there’s a bit of speed in the race,’’ she said.
‘‘ Theseo is the class horse in the field and gets a mile easily.
There are 13 acceptors for the Chipping Norton with the notable defector Metal Bender who will not be seen again until the spring.