Successful Sydney trainer Gerald Ryan is confident his classy Redoute’s Choice mare Melito has a mile in her, deciding on the Group 1 Chipping Norton Stakes (1600m) at Warwick Farm on March 5 as the next start for last Saturday’s Apollo Stakes winner.
Four-year-old Melito was ultra impressive with a first-up win at Rosehill on February 19, able to defeat Hot Danish by nearly two lengths in the Group 1 Apollo Stakes (1400m).
Already a Group 1 winner having seen success in the Winter Stakes (1400m) at Eagle Farm during the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival last year, Melito is now being primed to add a second elite level win to her name.
New South Wales Horse of the Year for last season, Meltio is unlucky not to have amassed more Group 1 victories to date having been narrowly defeated in events including the Group 1 Stradbroke Handicap (1400m) and Group 1 B.T.C. Cup (1200m) in 2010.
After her vibrant return to racing in the Apollo, which was Melito’s maiden first-up win, Ryan will next start her in the Chipping Norton Stakes.
If she fails at that assignment and finds the mile too testing, a drop back in distance with events including the Group 1 TJ Smith Stakes (1200m) at Randwick on April 9 and the Group 1 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on April 23 will become the target.
However, if she proves herself in the Chipping Norton the prestigious $2 million Group 1 Doncaster Mile, considered Australia’s most difficult 1600m showdown, on April 16 at the Royal Randwick is the main autumn aim.
Meltio ran competitively over a mile in her three-year-old season when fourth behind More Joyous in the Group 1 Flight Stakes (1600m) in 2009 on a bog track and then beaten narrowly next start by Irish Lights in the Group 1 Thousand Guineas (1600m).
Ryan could also head overseas with Melito depending on what the season produces with the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (1609) at England’s Royal Ascot Racecourse in June a possibility.
Nominations for the 2011 Chipping Norton Stakes close on Monday February 28 before the release of the final field of acceptors on Wednesday March 2.
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