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Can Tom Melbourne shrug his bridesmaid status? It’s a question plenty of punters are asking ahead of the cult galloper’s run in Saturday’s 2018 All Aged Stakes where trainer Chris Waller believes a gun barrier draw will help.
Perennial runner-up Tom Melbourne has finished runner-up in six of his 10 races since August last year.
First-up this prep the Dylan Thomas seven-year-old was second to stablemate Comin’ Through in the Group 2 Ajax Stakes (1500m).
A poor barrier 14 of 16 draw then saw the gelding finish out of the money narrowly, two and a half lengths back fifth to Happy Clapper in the Group 1 Doncaster Mile (1600m).
Waller deplored his horse’s poor barrier luck in the Doncaster and believes Saturday’s gate four draw in the All Aged Stakes field will see a much-improved run.
“He’s drawn perfectly, I wish he’d drawn this in the Doncaster,” the master trainer said.
“He is coming back in distance but is only third-up. We’ll ride him where he lands, probably sixth or seventh.”
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy retains the ride on Tome Melbourne in the Group 1 $600,000 All Aged Stakes (1400m) on Saturday, which rounds out elite level racing for the Sydney Autumn Racing Carnival.
All Aged Stakes betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has the impressive TJ Smith Stakes winning three-year-old Trapeze Artist as the hard to beat $2.25 favourite.
Tom Melbourne is just outside the top hopes paying $10 to break a lengthy winning drought that extends back to the Listed Albury Cup (2000m) in March of 2016.
Waller chases his second All Aged Stakes trophy having won the race back in 2009 with Danleigh and saddles-up a trio of chances in Saturday’s edition.
Along with Tom Melbourne the other Waller-trained hopefuls are Doncaster Mile ninth placegetter Endless Drama ($26), who needs rain to be competitive, and Japanese import Satono Rasen ($41) who makes his Australian race debut.
Blake Shinn rides Deep Impact entire Satono Rasen on the weekend, Waller knowing that the horse is probably out of his depth on Saturday.
“Hughie [Bowman] rode him the other morning and said he just lacks a turn of foot so that might be against him on Saturday,” Waller said in his weekly stable update.
“It’s a good starting point and we’ll see how we go.”
Both Satono Rasen and Tom Melbourne are likely to progress onto the Brisbane Winter Racing Carnival starting with a Gold Coast run on May 5 in the Group 2 $358,000 A.D. Hollindale Stakes (1800m).
To back Tom Melbourne to win – or run second – in the All Aged Stakes 2018 at the right price head to Ladbrokes.com.au.
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