The Gerald Ryan-trained filly Melito has been confirmed as a certain starter in Saturday’s $500,000 Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) after only six other horses were paid up for in the sprint feature at Randwick.
The three-year-old daughter of Redoute’s Choice had also been accepted for the $150,000 Group 2 Lady Sonia McMahon Memorial Stakes (previously known as the Sapphire Stakes), but with such a small field of sprinters engaged in the more prestigious race Ryan opted to give her a chance at Group 1 glory in the T J Smith.
Melito is having just her second run back from a spell on Saturday and has an impressive second-up record behind her. First-up two weeks ago she ran an arresting third to Patronyme in the Group 3 Birthday Card Stakes (1200m) and will have only improved since then in fitness and confidence.
She is currently installed as an $11 chance in the 2010 T J Smith Stakes with Ladbrokes.com.au and will jump from barrier seven with Blake Shinn aboard.
The two clear favourites in the race are Hot Danish at $2.80 and Mic Mac at $3.20.
But with six of the 13 T J Smith winners going out at double-figure odds, Ryan is confident in Melito’s chances.
Following her Sydney autumn campaign Melito will move onto the Brisbane winter carnival with the $1 million Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) on June 12 in her sights.
Rosehill-based trainer Ryan is also aiming at Group 1 success in the $300,000 AJC Sires Produce Stakes (1200m) at the AJC Derby meeting on Saturday with his promising two-year-old Hinchinbrook coming off a gallant fourth in the Golden Slipper last week.
Ryan’s last Group 1 victory as a trainer was back in 2006 when Snitzel took out the Oakleigh Plate.
Visit Ladbrokes.com.au for all the latest odds available for Saturday’s brilliant line-up of races.