Last year’s W.W. Cockram Stakes winner Lady Melksham is back this weekend for the 2013 edition of the mares-only showdown hoping to overcome adversity and take it out again.
The now five-year-old daughter of Artie Schiller has had just nine starts to date having only made her race debut in April last year.
She’s won five of those starts for her Victorian trainer John Sadler however with her biggest turf triumph being the $150,000 Group 3 W.W. Cockram Stakes (1200m) first-up last August.
For that effort Lady Melksham, ridden by big race specialist Glen Boss, thrived on a Heavy (10) Caulfield track.
Her opening three career starts were also all successful on ground rated from a Dead (5) up to a Heavy (9).
But while she runs well on rain affected ground she’s certainly not just a wet tracker.
First-up in the autumn Boss guided her to a narrow 955m victory at Moonee Valley on a Good (3).
She was disappointing at her latest run though when beating home just one other runner to finish eighth to General Truce when taking on the boys over 1000m at Flemington on April 13.
Sadler is confident she’ll be better coming back to her own kind this weekend though for her Cockram Stakes title defense.
Regardless of the outcome, whatever Lady Melksham does is all a bonus after she suffered a cracked skull last spring.
In the only really poor performance of her career she was dead last of the 12 runners in the Listed Alinghi Stakes (1100m) in October.
She ran that race however after hitting her head in the barriers which actually resulted in a cracked skull.
Sadler didn’t discover the injury until the following day and, once diagnosed, forced her to have five months off from racing.
He’s confident though that, despite her poor Flemington run last start, she’s as good as she was pre-accident.
“(I think) she is back to her best but we won’t know for sure until we go full bore on Saturday,” Sadler told AAP.
One thing firmly in her favour is she goes into the race fresh; Lady Melksham undefeated first-up with three wins from as many attempts.
Her outstanding record when resuming hasn’t gone unnoticed by the bookies either.
In the latest Cockram Stakes betting markets she is the $5 second pic following a last start winner at the track and distance in Octavia ($3.80).
Also in Lady Melksham’s odds is her inside barrier where Boss will likely ride her up on the speed from.
Boss, who also rides current 2013 Melbourne Cup favourite Puissance De Lune for their race return in Saturday’s $220,000 Group 2 P.B. Lawrence Stakes (1400m), rode Lady Melksham for a hit out last week and returned to Sadler with good reports.
“He said she was going as well as ever,” Sadler said.
All going well after Saturday Sadler will back Lady Melksham up in the $220,000 Group 2 Let’s Elope Stakes (1400m) at Flemington on September 7 where she’ll be out to improve on her fifth to Zurella in last year.
Whichever mare you’re back to win the Cockram Stakes 2013 this weekend make sure you get the best possible prices by betting online at bookmaker.com.au!