Outstanding juvenile Melt is back bigger and better if Saturday’s winning performance at Ruakaka is anything to go by.
The Group One placed youngster treated her rivals with disdain over the closing stages of the 1000m dash for three-year-olds as she opened a new campaign with a hollow two and a half-length victory.
In the hands of Sam Spratt, who was having her first ride on the filly, Melt showed her customary top-end speed to cruise clear when asked to quicken through a gap in the home straight. The display was just what trainer Nigel Tiley was looking for as he contemplates a raft of options available to his charge to ready her for a Group One assignment at Riccarton in November.
“To be honest I wasn’t sure just what to expect from her as she has only had a limited build-up so far,” Tiley said.
“Her coat is a long way from where it should be and she looked like a little woolly bear before the race which was a little embarrassing.
“She doesn’t take a lot of work though and with her natural speed the 1000m was a perfect way to kick her off.”
An unplaced run in a 1000m trial on a heavy surface at Avondale last month worked well for the Iffraaj filly who came on in leaps and bounds following the run, her first real hit-out since finishing second to Avantage in the Gr.1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (1400m) at Awapuni in March.
“She had hardly had a gallop before we took her to the trials last month,” Tiley said.
“She just cruised around that day although Leith (Innes) told me she was ready to jump through the bridle if he had asked her for an effort.
“Saturday’s track was perfect for her as she could get her toe into the ground, so we were hoping for a good run.
“Sam came back in afterwards and said that when she asked her to take the gap in the straight she just went through her gears fairly effortlessly, so all in all it was just what we were looking for.”
Tiley will now take a few days to monitor how the filly pulls up before thinking about what comes next on her schedule.
“Thankfully we have plenty of options for her depending on how she comes through this one,” he said.
“I don’t really know what the plan is exactly but the main aim is to get her to Christchurch for the 1000 Guineas in November.
“She could go to the Gold Trail Stakes at Hastings in three weeks or back to Ruakaka for the Northland Breeders Stakes in a fortnight.
“Track conditions will play a major role in our decision but whatever we do it will be in the best interests of furthering her preparation for Christchurch.”
The Gr.1 Gavelhouse.com New Zealand 1000 Guineas (1600m) is one of the feature events on the last day of the New Zealand Cup Carnival at Riccarton on November 17. – NZ Racing Desk