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Internationally performed hoop Kerrin McEvoy chases a maiden win in Saturday’s 2018 Doncaster Mile and plenty of eyes will be on him and his mount, perennial runner-up Tom Melbourne.
One of six runners for the race’s six-time winning trainer Chris Waller in this year’s Group 1 $3 million Doncaster Mile (1600m), the OTI Racing-owned Tom Melbourne is a $17 shot at Ladbrokes.com.au to finally post a win.
The seven-year-old son of Dylan Thomas has gained a cult-like following not for the races he wins, but for those he finishes second in.
He has not been first past the post since the Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) in March of 2018, but since then has amassed plenty of prize money finishing second best in some of the country’s top races.
Last spring he ran second four times on the trot including behind Happy Clapper in the Group 1 Epsom Handicap (1600m) at the same track and distance as the Doncaster Mile.
He was second best again at Flemington on VRC Derby Day last November when narrowly beaten by stablemate Shillelagh in the Group 1 Kennedy Mile (1600m), before heading to Perth for a third in the Group 1 Railway Stakes (1600m) and unplaced Kingston Town Classic performance over 1800m.
This season Tom Melbourne returned on March 17 at Rosehill in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m) and few were surprised with the result, the horse running a nose second to the also Waller-trained Doncaster Mile hopeful Comin’ Through.
A host of hoops have attempted to get the best out of Tom Melbourne and on Saturday it is McEvoy’s turn.
He is yet to ride the horse under race conditions, but was impressed with the feel he got in a winning Rosehill barrier trial from February 19.
“The way he felt in the trial I thought it could be his best prep,” McEvoy, the 11th different jockey to jump on the horse since his last victory, told Racing NSW this week.
“I did get a good feeling at the trials and it was a good day out for both of us. He hit the line nicely.”
McEvoy also believes he can get Tom Melbourne to shrug his placegetter status having encountered a similarly “quirky” horse in the UK.
“Back in England there was a horse over there that was quite quirky called Bulwark,” he said.
“He was a gelding that, more often than not, would loom up and always run second or third.
“I had a good association with him and he was a bit of a quirky horse. He helped my profile because no-one could win on him.
“I don’t mind riding the quirky ones so hopefully I can put that to good use.”
Tom Melbourne drew barrier 14 of 16 for the Doncaster Mile.
On paper that might seem poor, but history shows that seven of the past nine Doncaster Mile winners drew gate 10 or wider including Sacred Choice winning from 14 of 17 in 2011.
“It’s important to get the right spot in running and the planning will start now,” McEvoy said after the Doncaster Mile barriers were revealed.
“I suppose the key is not making it too hard for him by timing his run. You have to trick him into thinking he’s going better than he is.
“I’m happy to be on the horse and am hoping to get the job done.”
To back Tom Melbourne for the win at the right price in Doncaster Mile 2018 betting this weekend head to Ladbrokes.com.au today.
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