Assign has justified a decision to run at Rosehill Gardens this afternoon with a strong performance for success in the Group 3 Neville Sellwood Stakes (2000m).
Assign was a duel acceptor in both the Neville Sellwood Stakes and the Ladbrokes Mornington Cup in Victoria, but Macedon Lodge elected to saddle the horse on the rain-soaked Sydney track.
Jumping from the gates well, jockey Ben Melham allowed the gelding to stride forward and take a positive position in transit on the heels of early leaders Classic Uniform and Lord De Air, who set a fair tempo across the back straight.
Having received a good run in transit on the fence, Melham chose to hug the rails rounding onto the final straight and was rewarded for the decision when the horse joined the race leaders with 300m to run; mustering a superior turn of foot to beat Astronomos and Single Gaze on the line.
Melham’s ride was arguably the difference in success this afternoon and the hoop revealed that the horse actually didn’t appreciate the heavy going in the Neville Sellwood Stakes as much as it appeared.
“I put a gap on them at the top of the straight, but I knew they’d keep coming,” Melham said after dismounting.
“It probably actually wasn’t his preferred surface – he wasn’t 100% comfortable in it but he did a fantastic job to just battle on and win.
“I probably would have preferred to be outside the leader, but the tempo was solid enough to sit off them, he got into a good rhythm and just kept coming to the line.”
Assign produced a number of excellent results for Macedon Lodge through the recent Spring Carnival and won the Group 2 Ladbrokes Herbert Power Stakes (2400m) most notably, on his way to a berth in the Melbourne Cup.
Noted wet tracker Astronomos produced a smart performance to finish a close second and was unlucky not to get the bob in, while Single Gaze recorded undoubtedly her best run this season to finish a close third; a year after winning the Group 1 Vinery Stud Stakes (2000m) at this meeting.
2017 Neville Sellwood Stakes Results
|1||1||ASSIGN (IRE)||Robert Hickmott||Ben Melham||–||4||56.5kg||$8|
|2||3||ASTRONOMOS (GB)||John P Thompson||Jason Collett||0.8L||1||55kg||$2.80F|
|3||2||SINGLE GAZE||Nick Olive||Ms Kathy O’Hara||1L||5||56kg||$10|
|4||4||CLASSIC UNIFORM||Gary Moore||Tim Clark||5L||7||55kg||$4.80|
|5||9||ZASORCERESS (NZ)||Darren Weir||Damian Lane||5.9L||8||53kg||$8|
|6||5||SLOW PACE (USA)||Kris Lees||Brenton Avdulla||10.9L||6||55kg||$18|
|7||6||FLOODLIGHT (USA)||John O’Shea||Regan Bayliss||13.4L||3||55kg||$16|
|8||8||AMBIENCE||John O’Shea||Corey Brown||13.6L||2||54.5kg||$8|
|9||7||LORD DE AIR||Gregory Hickman||Andrew Adkins (a)||24.8L||9||55kg||$61|