Disappointed jockey Ben Melham will be free to ride veteran stayer Who Shot Thebarman in the Group 1 $7.3m Lexus Melbourne Cup (3200m) at Flemington on Tuesday but will miss the remainder of the four day Carnival.
Melham is booked to ride the Chris Waller trained outsider on Tuesday but will miss the plumb rides on Homesman in the Group 1 $2m Seppelt Mackinnon Stakes (2000m) and on Santa Ana Lane in the Group 1 $1m VRC Sprint Classic (1200m) at Flemington on Saturday.
Melham will also miss Thursday’s Kennedy Oaks meeting after being suspended for excessive use off the whip on runner up Stars Of Carrum in the Group 1 $2m AAMI Victoria Derby (2500m) at Flemington yesterday.
Stewards charged Melham with using his whip twelve times prior to the 100m mark, which was seven times more than permitted and have suspended him from riding from midnight on Melbourne Cup day until midnight on November 12.
Melham was also fined $500 for using the whip on four consecutive strides prior to the 100m mark.
“It’s unfortunate because I’ll miss Homesman and Santa Ana Lane who have been good horses to me and I ride them all the time,” Melham said.
“But the long and the short of it is I was booked for the horse in the Melbourne Cup and the owners would prefer I ride the horse.”
Who Shot Thebarman was scratched from last year’s Melbourne Cup because of a high temperature after being included in the field but has raced in the previous three famous two miler with his best result being a third behind Protectionist and Red Cadeaux in 2014.
The ten year old heads into this year’s Melbourne Cup on the back of last start fourth to Ventura Storm in the Group 2 $500,000 McCafe Moonee Valley Gold Cup (2500m) at The Valley on October 27.
Melham has ridden the Liam Howley trained, Lloyd Williams owned Homesman in three of his four 2018 Spring Carnival runs with his latest effort producing a nose second to Best Solution in the Group 1 $5m Stella Artois Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield on October 20.
The Anthony Freedman trained Santa Ana Lane has been a regular ride for Melham as well and the multiple Group 1 winner in coming off a last start sixth to Redzel in the $13m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick.
The Aidan O’Brien trained Irish stayer Yucatan remains at the top of the market order for the Melbourne Cup at $5 at Ladbrokes.com.au despite drawing barrier twenty-three in the twenty-four horse field while Who Shot Thebarman is one of the outsiders of the field at $51.