The Chris Waller trained Tom Melbourne has been promoted to equal favourite after drawing the inside barrier in the Group 1 $1m James Boag’s Premium Railway Stakes (1600m) at Ascot in Perth on Saturday.
Tom Melbourne with Damien Oliver booked to ride is now the $6.50 equal top pick for the Railway Stakes alongside of multiple Group 1 winner Black Heart Bart and local hero Scales Of Justice at Ladbrokes.com.au.
The Darren Weir trained Black Heart Bart drew barrier eight but could jump from six if all of the emergencies fail to gain a spot in the final sixteen horse field while Scales Of Justice could come out of gate ten after drawing thirteen in the original barrier draw.
Tom Melbourne has been a consistent performer during the 2017 Spring Carnival with five seconds from six outings but has failed to find the winner’s stall.
The professional placegetter was Group 1 placed on two occasions when second to Happy Clapper in the Group 1 $1m Epsom Handicap (1600m) at Randwick on September 30 three starts back and second to his stablemate Shillelagh in the Group 1 $1m Kennedy Mile (1600m) at Flemington on November 4 at his latest start.
Sandwiched in between those two Group 1 placings was a sixth to Tosen Stardom in the Group 1 $500,000 United Petroleum Toorak Handicap (1600m) at Caulfield on October 14.
“I think he has a sense of timing and will be very competitive in both,” Waller stable’s racing manager Liam Prior told Tabradio’s the Sports Daily.
“He probably deserves a win at the top level and I pretty much think Perth will be able to give him that opportunity.
“I don’t think he has trouble finding the line, but he has basically found one better on a number of occasions.
“If any horse deserves a Group 1 win he does because he has been able to mix it with the best of them at that level.
Waller will also saddle up $14 chance All Our Roads who was out of luck at the barrier draw, coming up the eighteen marble with Craig Williams booked to ride.
Black Heart Bart has also been racing consistently over the Spring without finding the winner’s stall with three placings before his last start fifth to Bonneval in the Group 1 $750,000 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes (1800m) at Caulfield on October 1.
Black Heart Bart’s best Spring finish was a second to Vega Magic in the Group 1 $1m New Zealand Bloodstock Memsie Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on September 2 followed by a third to stablemate Humidor in the Group 1 $750,000 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on September 16.
The Lindsey Smith trained Scales Of Justice is the best of the Perth gallopers but has lost his outright spot at the top of the market order after drawing an awkward barrier.
The Not A Single Doubt five year old was the $5.50 favourite before the barrier draw but now shares the top position at $6.50 as he chases back to back wins in the Railway Stakes with Hong Kong’s thirteen times premiership winning jockey Douglas Whyte in the saddle again.
The Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott trained Supply And Demand is also facing a tough run after drawing barrier nineteen in the original draw while the Adam Durrant trained Silverstream with William Pike in the saddle will jump from the extreme outside barrier when the final field is reduced to its sixteen horse limit.
Early betting for the 2017 Railway Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6.50 Scales Of Justice, Black Heart Bart, Tom Melbourne, $8 Supply And Demand, $12 Ulmann, $13 Sovereign Nation, Variation, $14 All Our Roads, $15 Silverstream, $18 Pounamu, $21 Cosmic Storm, Material Man, Royal Star (2nd Em) $26 Great Shot, Gatting, $51 Disposition, Observational, $61 Tradesman (1st Em), $126 Bollywood Blitz (3rd Em), $151 Tonkatuff (4th Em).