Bar­rier to force Melito for­ward in Chip­ping Nor­ton

Townsville Bulletin - - Racing -

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.

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