The Cox Plate’s new player jockey Ben Melham is leaving no stone unturned as he prepares to ride Puissance De Lune in the Group 1 $3m Sportingbet Cox Plate (2040m) at Moonee Valley tomorrow.
Studying the 2013 Cox Plate form is high priority for Melham who has taken a limited book of rides on Saturday and will miss the Moonee Valley Friday night meeting to keep himself fresh for the ride of his life.
Melham was called up to substitute for regular rider Glen Boss who was suspended for twelve meetings for careless riding arising from an incident in the straight the first time in the Group 1 $2.5m BMW Caulfield Cup (2400m) at Caulfield last Saturday, forcing connections to find a new Cox Plate jockey.
The last minute call up for one of the top chances in a race like the Cox Plate is any jockey’s dream and Melham will only have two rides earlier in the day to see how the track is racing before being legged up onto Puissance De Lune.
“This is the stuff any jockey dreams of, picking up a good ride in a big race. They are hard to come by with the riding ranks in Victoria being so strong,” Melham told the Sportsman.
“Given that opportunities are few and far between so you have to make the most of it.”
Melham rode Puissance De Lune in track work on Tuesday at trainer Darren Weir’s Warrnambool base and was thrilled with the hit out.
“His action was flawless which is the main thing and he is going to appreciate the give out of the ground whereas some of them won’t,” Melham said.
“The horse is in great hands and Weiry will turn him out in immaculate order. I couldn’t be happier with him going into the race and it just comes down to luck in running.”
As well as studying the Cox Plate form, Melham has viewed all of Puissance De Lune’s races and will also call on some last minute advice from Boss.
“I’ve watched all his tapes and I know him pretty well but I’ll speak to Glen closer to the race,”Melham said.
Fiorente is on the third line of betting at $5.50 while the Caulfield Guineas winner Long John continues to firm and is now a $7.50 chance.