TORONTO, September 20 – Melmich, a seven-year-old son of Wilko, can hit the $1 million mark in career earnings with a repeat win in the Grade 3, $125,000 Durham Cup, one of two stakes slated for Sunday afternoon at Woodbine.
Trained by Kevin Attard and owned by Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman, fan favourite Melmich heads into the 1 1/8-mile main track affair off four runner-up efforts in five starts in 2018.
Last year, Melmich, sent off as the 3-5 favourite, won the Durham Cup by 7 ½-lengths.
“Any time you have a horse that each and every time goes to the post and gives it their all, that makes them special,” said Attard of the 16-time winner from 39 starts who has $968,619 in career earnings. “When you look at his form, it reads consistency. He’s usually smaller and lighter than his competition, but his heart suggests it’s twice the size he is.”
A former claimer who has become a multiple graded stakes winner, Melmich will be going after his first win of the season.
The Ontario-bred chestnut comes into the Durham Cup off a runner-up performance to Kingsport in the OLG Elgin Stakes presented by Ontario Racing, on August 29.
Melmich was second to Are You Kidding Me (the two will meet again Sunday) in the prep for the Grade 2 Eclipse on May 5 and then the Eclipse itself, on May 26. Three starts ago, Melmich was second in the Grade 3 Dominion Day, 1 ¼-lengths back of Tiz a Slam.
“As for coming into this race, I’ve tweaked his training regimen in hopes of putting some more speed into him,” offered Attard. “I think he’s going to run well Sunday. The race is void of speed so I think it will be a jockeys’ race.”
Second in voting for the 2017 Sovereign Award as Canada’s champion older male (Pink Lloyd won the honour), Melmich has a huge supporter in Attard, who is in the midst of another strong campaign at Woodbine.
“He’s very well mannered around the barn,” he said. “I just feel very privileged that he came into my life.”
The Grade 3 Durham Cup is slated for Race 9 on Sunday’s 11-race card. Also on tap, the Bull Page Stakes, listed as Race 6.
FIELD FOR THE $125,000 GRADE 3 DURHAM CUP
POST / HORSE / JOCKEY / TRAINER
1 / Melmich / Eurico Rosa da Silva / Kevin Attard
2 / Avie’s Mesa / Davy Moran / Josie Carroll
3 / Are You Kidding Me / Rafael Hernandez / Roger Attfield
4 / Looking for Eight / Jerome Lermyte / Mark Casse
5 / Florida Won / Luis Contreras / Norm McKnight