In an ironic twist Tom Melbourne’s biggest stumbling block to returning to the winner’s circle at the Gold Coast may be his stablemates.
That is the opinion of trainer Chris Waller’s Queensland manager Paul Shailer who will help Sydney’s premier trainer saddle five runners in the Group Two Hollindale Stakes (1800m).
Corey Brown will ride Tom Melbourne who will be joined by Egg Tart (Jeff Lloyd), Comin’ Through (Robbie Fradd), One Foot In Heaven (Michael Cahill) and Satono Rasen (Glen Colless).
Tom Melbourne hasn’t won since taking the Albury Cup in March 2016.
But in the two years since he has built a virtual cult following.
Tom Melbourne has run 10 minor placings – three in Group One races, two at Group Two level, four in Group Three and one in Listed race.
Shailer believes the Hollindale is an ideal race for Tom Melbourne to break his drought.
“But ironically his stablemates look to be among the major dangers,” Shailer said.
“I really liked the run of the Japanese horse (Satono Rasen) in the All Aged Stakes. His final sectional was very good.”
“Egg Tart is a Group One-winning mare getting back to her best and Comin’ Through is a Doncaster placegetter.”
“One Foot in Heaven is an interesting runner as he had good form in Europe.”
Comin’ Through goes to the race off a solid Sydney campaign which includes victory over Tom Melbourne in the Group Two Ajax Stakes and a second to Happy Clapper in the $3.5 million Doncaster Mile.
He then ran fifth in the $4 million Queen Elizabeth behind Winx, Gailo Chop, Happy Clapper and Humidor.
“That’s where his form lines up. That’s the best form in the country and he goes to this race with a good draw and he’s settled in well,” Waller said.
Another who has adapted well in Brisbane is Melbourne mare Oregon’s Day after a Sydney campaign which included a second to Daysee Doom in the Group One Coolmore Classic.
“She worked strongly on the B grass on Tuesday morning. Jim Byrne who will also ride her on Saturday was pleased with the way she went,” trainer Mick Price said.
“She has drawn OK (8). She can want to over-race if she doesn’t get cover.”