TORONTO, September 27 – Undefeated this season, Melmich will look to extend his win streak this Saturday in the $125,000 Durham Cup (Grade 3) at Woodbine Racetrack as he builds his case for year-end honours.
Trained by Kevin Attard for owners Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman, Melmich has won four straight this year, including his last three against stakes company. Following his successful seasonal debut on May 31, the six-year-old Wilko-Little Swoon gelding won back-to-back Grade 3 stakes this summer – the Dominion Day and Seagram Cup – before scoring his third successive Elgin Stakes victory on Canadian Millions night one month ago.
“He was kind of further back than I would have liked to see with such a slow pace, but Eurico [Rosa Da Silva] managed to make an early move down the backside to get him back into contention and it was a good stretch run between him and Field of Courage,” said Attard recalling Melmich’s latest triumph, which marked his 15th career win from 31 starts. “Obviously, he prevailed and I was very ecstatic about that.
“He’s training very well, his appetite’s been fabulous so he’s coming into the race in great shape.”
Melmich is currently among the top eight earners at the Woodbine meet having banked more than $200,000 of his $786,447 bankroll and is currently tied for second in the local standings for stakes victories with three-year-old filly Enstone and three-year-old colt Yorkton – each with three – behind five-year-old gelding Pink Lloyd, who is six-for-six in stakes action.
Attard noted that a change to Melmich’s running style this year has been key to his latest string of success.
“We’ve kind of concentrated on him running from off the pace more,” said Attard. “In the past, he’s been a little bit more versatile and we’ve kind of used him up a little bit earlier than normal so this year we’ve concentrated on making one patented run with him and that seems to be working. He seems to enjoy that and obviously we’re planning on keeping him home this year as opposed to travelling. Last year, he did some travelling and the shipping kind of took its toll on him as well.”
As Melmich’s win streak grows putting him into contention for year-end awards, Attard admits there is some pressure to build on a perfect record with a few more races left on his schedule.
“He’s obviously four-for-four, he’s a got a couple of grade wins in there too so he’s been a good horse to us and we’d like to see him kind of rewarded with some Sovereign honours possibly at the end of the year,” said Attard. “I think if he can keep up what he’s doing, he can probably make a good account of himself for maybe even Horse of the Year in Canada.”
Woodbine’s meet leading rider Eurico Rosa Da Silva will retain the mount on Melmich, who has drawn post four in the five-horse field set to contest the 1-1/8 mile graded stakes on the Woodbine main track. Scheduled as the eighth race, the Durham Cup headlines Saturday’s program, which begins at 1 p.m. and also features the $100,000 La Lorgnette Stakes.
Ghostly Presence heads into the 1-1/16 mile sixth race stakes event for three-year-old fillies off an impressive 4-3/4 length victory earlier this month at Woodbine for trainer Roger Attfield. The La Lorgnette field also includes the streaking Michael Dickinson trainee Lift Up, who is one of three shippers in the race.
Here is a complete look at the fields for Saturday’s stakes events:
$125,000 Durham Cup (Grade 3) – Race 8
Post Position – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1. U S Marshal – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Ian Black
2. Keen Gizmo – Patrick Husbands – Josie Carroll
3. Leavem in Malibu – Gary Boulanger – Mark Casse
4. Melmich – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Kevin Attard
5. Narrow Escape – Rafael Hernandez – Justin Nixon
$100,000 La Lorgnette Stakes (Race 6)
Post Position – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1. Crumlin Queen – David Moran – Michael Doyle
2. Lift Up – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Michael Dickinson
3. Enthrall – Alan Garcia – Brendan Walsh
4. My Arch Enemy – Gary Boulanger – Mark Casse
5. Ghostly Presence – Rafael Hernandez – Roger Attfield
6. Let It Ride Mom – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
7. Silhouette – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Josie Carroll
8. Ellan Vannin – Sunny Singh – Tony Gattellaro