Golden Slipper winning jockey Ben Melham is in danger of missing the rich Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas Race Day on Saturday week after being suspended for careless riding at Ballarat on Thursday.
Melham will have to win an appeal against a nine meeting careless riding suspension if he is to ride Levendi in the Group 1 $2m Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas (1600m) on October 14.
Racing Victoria stewards found Melham guilty of causing interference at the 1000m mark in the second race at Ballarat on Thursday in that he allowed his mount Keysor to shift in which resulted in It’s a Date being checked.
Melham is free to ride at the Turnbull Stakes meeting at Flemington on Saturday before commencing his suspension and can resume riding on October 16 if his appeal is unsuccessful.
Melham was in the spotlight during the 2017 Sydney Autumn Carnival when he rode She Will Reign to victory in the Group 1 $3.5m Longines Golden Slipper (1200m) at Rosehill but because of weight restrictions was unable to partner the Gary Portelli trained filly in her win in the Group 1 $500,000 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes (1000m) at The Valley on September 29.
Melham would also have been first choice rider for She Will Reign in the $10m The Everest (1200m) at Randwick on Caulfield Guineas Day but was unable to make the 51kg that the filly would have to carry.
The Peter Gelagotis trained Levendi was the winner of his first two race starts before running sixth to Perast in the Group 3 $175,000 Caulfield Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield last Sunday with Melham in the saddle for all three outings.
Early betting for the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas has Levendi marked as a $17 chance in the market order that has the Tony McEvoy trained Royal Symphony as the $4 favourite.
Royal Symphony suffered his first defeat from five starts when fourth in the Caulfield Guineas Prelude but McEvoy is confident the glamour colt will bounce back in the Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas.
“Don’t give up on him. He’s still a live chance in the final,” McEvoy told the Herald Sun.
Early market order for 2017 Ladbrokes Caulfield Guineas at Ladbrokes.com.au: $4 Royal Symphony, $5 Catchy, Kementari, $8 Summer Passage, $10 Perast, $11 Gold Standard, 17 Levendi, $21 Chauffeur, $26 Eclair Sunshine, Esperance, Sanctioned, Showtime, Villermont, $34 Holy Snow, Rellson, Salamor, The Mission, $41 or better the rest.