Four year old mare Rustic Melody can book herself on a float to the Gold Coast for the $1m Magic Millions Trophy (1800m) on January 9 if she can win at Rosehill on Saturday.
The Kris Lees trained Rustic Melody is one of the main chances in a wide open $85,000 More Than Ready @Vinery Stud BenchMark 80 Handicap (1900m).
Betting at Ladbrokes.com.au has half of the twelve horse field under double figures with Rustic Melody on the second line of betting at $6.50.
The Gerald Ryan trained Thermogenic heads the market order at $5 with Gai Waterhouse’s Kontiki Dane is the third pick at $7.
Lees would love to make the trip to Queensland for the Magic Millions Carnival but knows that the Snitzel mare has to win on Saturday to make the final field in the Magic Millions Trophy.
“She needs to win to be certain of gaining a start,” Lees told Racing and Sports.
“It’s not going to be an easy race to win but I’m very pleased with the way Rustic Melody is progressing.”
“She was okay last start and is looking for this distance now. I feel she has a great each-way chance.”
Brenton Avdulla takes over from apprentice Samantha Clenton on Rustic Melody who will jump from barrier two.
Rustic Melody has been unplaced from three runs this campaign but Lees was happy with her latest effort when sixth to Cape Crusader in a 1600m BenchMark 77 Handicap at Randwick on December 5 and said she would appreciate the step up to the 1900m this week.
Even though she hasn’t won beyond 1600m, the four year old mare was beaten a head over this course and distance during the Winter months back in May.
Lees will also saddle up Award Season who is having his second run back from a spell after finishing fifth on November 21 at his first run since March in a BenchMark 78 Handicap over the same course and distance as Saturday’s race.
“I have given him a month between runs to give him every chance to get over that good performance after such a lengthy absence,” Lees said.
“It is hard to get a line on him because I give him a lot of work on the treadmill rather than doing a great deal with him on the track.
“His record says he is the best horse in the race, but I’d have to favour Rustic Melody given Award Season has had only the one run back at this stage.”
Award Season, with claiming apprentice Samantha Clenton to ride, is one of the outsiders of the field at $19.
More Than Ready @ Vinery Stud BenchMark 80 Handicap market order at Ladbrokes.com.au: $5 Thermogenic, $6.50 Rustic Melody, $7 Kontiki Dane, $7.50 Sebrina, Rye, Santa Rocks, $11 Dance Of Heroes, $14 Diamondsinthenight, $15 White Dove, $19 Award Session, $26 The Rumour File, $61 Double Bluff.
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