While a smaller than capacity field has opted to take on the seemingly unbeatable Black Caviar in this Saturday’s BTC Cup, one horse that is not shying away from the challenge is Melito.
The Gerald Ryan-trained mare has been beaten easily by Black Caviar in their previous two meetings, but that will not stop the gutsy four-year-old from trying.
Melito, who is in the middle of a successful preparation that has seen her win the Group 2 Apollo Stakes first up, will be sent out against the world’s best racehorse armed with a perfect barrier draw of two.
While this in itself may not be enough to bring Black Caviar to her knees, Gerald Ryan decided it was worth a shot.
“There was a train of thought to miss the BTC Cup and concentrate on the mares races, but I’ve never run away from a Group 1 with her yet, so why start now?” Ryan said.
“She has had 15 starts at Group 1 level and never let us down.”
Ryan is hoping to prepare Melito for runs later in the winter carnival at her optimum distance of 1,400 metres.
“I know Black Caviar and Hay List are in the race and they probably have the edge on Melito at 1200m,” Ryan said.
“But there are two 1400m races (Stradbroke Handicap, Winter Stakes) that we are getting ready for.”
The trainer is hoping the race style will suit Melito in the BTC Cup.
“Plus I feel we have been riding Melito to suit the lack of speed in races and I’m hoping we can ride her a little more quietly on Saturday,” Ryan said.
“She was ridden back off the speed when she won the T J Smith last year and when she ran well in races like the Doomben 10,000 and Stradbroke Handicap.”
Melito has won five of her 25 race starts and has accumulated almost $2 million in prize money during her successful career.