OTI Racing’s managing owner Terry Henderson said their perennial placegetter Tom Melbourne did enough in his Railway Stakes third last weekend to have a crack at the upcoming Group 1 $1 million Kingston Town Classic (1800m) back at Ascot Racecourse on December 9.
Prepared by Winx trainer Chris Waller, imported Dylan Thomas seven-year-old Tom Melbourne has been dubbed Australian racing’s favourite bridesmaid due to a frustrating succession of minor placings this campaign.
The gelding ran second in five of his six spring runs leading up to last Saturday’s Group 1 $1 million Railway Stakes (1600m) in W.A. including behind stablemate Shillelagh on November 4 in the Group 1 $1 million Kennedy Mile (1600m).
The frustration continued for connections again in Perth with Tom Melbourne getting the gun run from the inside alley in the Railway Stakes with Damien Oliver aboard, only to finish a quarter length back third.
Henderson told Racing Victoria on Monday morning however that it was hard not to be pleased with the horse’s efforts to post another elite level placing.
“He’s so competitive and puts himself in the race each time,” Henderson said.
“Certainly the inside of the track last Saturday wasn’t as favourable as the outside but having said that we had all the favours, we had the cover, we had the rail and we got a good run through at the right time but he was still half-a-length short.
“Perhaps he wasn’t able to get his momentum up and the horse in front had a relatively easy run which made it harder to pick him up which obviously showed but you can’t take anything away from the winner.”
Top honours went to the locally-trained Great Shot in an upset over Darren Weir’s five-time Group 1 winning Perth expat Black Heart Bart.
Already the great-striding Black Heart Bart is tipped to go one better and salute in the Kingston Town Classic next start getting out over his preferred distance of 1800m.
All-in Kingston Town Classic betting at Ladbrokes.com.au currently list Black Heart Bart at $4, while Tom Melbourne is also at single-figures of $7.50 after confirmation he was racing on in W.A. this summer.
“[Oliver] thought the horse was very genuine and that he relaxed well, which is always hard for Tom and he’s really looking forward to the Kingston Town,” Henderson said.
“Obviously we meet Black Heart Bart 4kg worse off because of the weight-for-age conditions but most of the rest of the field we’ll be better off than so he deserves his crack at it.”
Oliver has also been confirmed to continue his association aboard Tom Melbourne in the Kingston Town Classic, the hoop chasing his second in in the feature.
Back in 2009 Oliver partnered Sniper’s Bullet to victory in the Kingston Town Classic.
Sniper’s Bullet was the last horse to complete the Railway Stakes – Kingston Town Classic double, a feat the Rhys Radford-trained Great Shot is rated a $26 chance to do so in 2017.
Waller meanwhile is also after a second Kingston Town Classic trophy after preparing then seven-year-old Moriarty to victory in 2014 on the back of a third in that year’s Railway Stakes.
Godolphin’s Doncaster Mile winner It’s Somewhat ($5.50) last seen running third in the Group 1 $2 million Emirates Stakes (2000m) and last weekend’s Group 2 W.A. Guineas winning filly Perfect Jewel ($10) are the other best in Kingston Town Classic 2017 betting at Ladbrokes.com.au.