Co-trainer Lee Freedman is hoping a gear change will end a frustrating run of minor placings for Tom Melbourne who runs first up in the Group 3 $150,000 The Resimax TS Carlyon Cup (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
Freedman has taken the Norton bit off and put the crossover noseband back on Tom Melbourne and is hoping the front running six year old will now be able to settle behind the speed.
“He’s had a good break after the Spring Carnival and we’ve been spending a lot of time down at Pinecliff trying to get him to accept a different mode of racing to what he was getting used to last prep,” Freedman told racing.com.
“The problem with him early days is that he wouldn’t accept a cross-over noseband on him.
“He found it uncomfortable and really didn’t like it, but now he’s older, a season on, we are actually able to use it on him and that’s a great benefit for a horse like that.
“It should allow him to settle and run on.”
Tom Melbourne was a crowd favourite for his front running style but he failed to salute during the 2016 Melbourne Spring Carnival with three placings from his last three starts.
Dwayne Dunn was happy to sit at the rump of the other noted front runner The Cleaner in the Group 3 $150,000 Priceline Pharmacy Coongy Cup (2000m) at Caulfield before sliding to the lead on the home turn only to be run down by Vanbrugh.
At his next start Tom Melbourne set a solid pace in the Listed $150,000 Lexus Hybrid Plate (1400m) at Flemington before being overhauled by Oceanographer and then finished third behind Francis Of Assisi and Vengeur Masque after adopting the same tactics in the Group 3 $300,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes (2600m) at Flemington on November 5.
Even though the shortest distance Tom Melbourne has won over is 1717m at Sale, Freedman is expecting a bold first up performance over the 1600m of the TS Carlyon Cup.
“He’s a good first-up horse but it’s quite a good field though,” Freedman said.
“With an inner draw and ridden the way we’d like him to be ridden tomorrow, I would like to see him running on if there’s enough pace to allow him to run on.
“I don’t think he’s essentially a 1600-metre horse but with all the work we’ve done we would want to ride him off the speed tomorrow.”
Mark Zahra takes on the ride on Tom Melbourne has drawn barrier two in the eleven horse field.
Tom Melbourne is currently marked at $10 for the TS Carlyon Cup with Ladbrokes.com.au who have the Darren Weir trained Humidor as the $3.90 favourite ahead of stablemates Burning Front at $4 and Real Love at $5.50.