Unbeaten filly Smart Melody has drawn perfectly at barrier two in the 2018 Group 1 $500,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas (1600m) at Caulfield on Saturday.
A field of fifteen will line up in the Thousand Guineas field following the early scratching of the Paul Perry trained Ducale who had drawn barrier nine in the original draw.
Smart Melody is the winner of all of her five race starts and the Kris Lees trained filly will be joined by her stablemate El Dorado Dreaming who drew barrier seven with Damian Lane booked to ride.
James McDonald will be having his first race ride on Smart Melody in the Thousand Guineas but Lees’ main track rider Mal Ollerton said that the Smart Missile filly felt in great shape when he put her through her paces on the Caulfield course proper this morning.
“I came down and galloped her before she won the Prelude and she hasn’t gone backwards,” Ollerton told AAP.
“I couldn’t be happier with her this morning.
“It was more maintenance than anything to keep her ticking over for Saturday. In saying that she worked quite well.
“I think she has probably worked better this morning than she did last time I came down and rode her.”
Smart Melody made it five wins from five starts when she won the Group 2 $200,000 Schweppes Thousand Guineas Prelude (1400m) at Caulfield on September 30 and was installed as the $3.10 favourite at Ladbrokes.com.au when the final field was released today.
Ollerton is confident that Smart Melody will handle the step up from 1400m to the 1600m of the Thousand Guineas and said her work had always indicated that she would run a mile.
“We’ve always thought she would run a mile,” Ollerton said.
“Even though she was as brilliant as she was early in those shorter races, at home in her work she has always given you the feel that she would run a mile.
“People probably think she’s probably a 1200-metre horse because she is so brilliant, but I don’t think the mile will be an issue at all.”
The Lees’ stable second stringer El Dorado Dreaming is a terrific back for the favourite and sits on the second line of betting at $7 alongside of the Leon and Troy Corstens trained Thrillster who has drawn barrier eight with Noel Callow booked to ride.
El Dorado Dreaming is already a Group 1 winner as a two year old when trained by Ben Smith after storming home at $81 to claim the Group 1 $1m Inglis Sires’ (1400m) at Randwick on Day One The Championships during the 2018 Sydney Autumn Carnival and then followed that up with a third in the Group 1 $500,000 Moet & Chandon Champagne Stakes (1600m) at Randwick a fortnight later.
The filly has stepped out only once during her three year old season and at her first start for Lees ran home from the back to finish third to Smart Melody in the Thousand Guineas Prelude.
Victoria’s leading trainer Darren Weir will saddle up three fillies in the Thousand Guineas with Amphitrite and Krone backing up week to week after running first and second in the Group 2 $200,000 Edward Manifold Stakes (1600m) at Flemington last Saturday.
The Weir trained Anjana has had a steady Spring Carnival build up and heads to the Thousand Guineas after finishing fourth to Smart Melody in the Thousand Guineas Prelude.
All three Weir fillies were out of luck at the barrier draw and if there are no more scratchings Anjana (Ben Allen) will jump from barrier twelve, Krone (Mark Zahra) from barrier thirteen and Amphitrite (Craig Williams) from the outside gate.