Photo: Michael Burns
Using his patented late kick, the Horse of the Year candidate has gone undefeated in five starts during his six-year-old campaign with a meet-leading three graded stakes wins at Woodbine and a third successive Elgin Stakes victory among his accomplishments. His latest was his greatest margin of victory as he drew off by 7-1/2 lengths in the Durham Cup on September 30.
“He’s doing well, so far, so good,” reported Attard on Thursday afternoon. “He’s come out of his last race well. He’s had two breezes in the interim and I’m very happy where he’s at.”
While the Autumn Stakes will likely be Melmich’s toughest test so far this year with Gigantic Breeze coming off an impressive win in the Presque Isle Mile and the two-time Grade 2 stakes winner Dragon Bay in the mix, Attard believes his trainee is up to the task. Shippers Western Reserve and Tale of the Nile are also contenders.
“Obviously, it’s been an undefeated season for him so far and he’s stepped up to the plate each time we’ve sent him over there,” said Attard, who trains the son of Wilko for owners Stephen Chesney and Cory Hoffman.
With 16 wins in a career spanning 32 starts, the consistent gelding has proven his talent time and again while forming a bond with his connections.
“He’s a good boy. Sometimes he gets a little sharp on the track, but for the most part he’s just a great horse to work with,” said Attard. “He loves his mints. He’s happy to see you in the morning. He’s been really good to us and I think we appreciate each other.”
Woodbine’s leading stakes-winning jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva, who was inducted into the Etobicoke Sports Hall of Fame on Thursday evening, retains the mount on Melmich for the Autumn Stakes.
Beyond the Autumn, the Valedictory Stakes on Woodbine’s December 10 season finale could provide one more opportunity for Melmich to showcase his talents. Melmich is trying to keep pace with Pink Lloyd, who is seven-for-seven this year and will be looking for eight straight if he can win the Kennedy Road Stakes (Grade 2) on November 25.
The following is the complete field for Sunday’s 1-1/16 mile Autumn Stakes, which is scheduled at race eight. First race post time is set for 1 p.m.
$175,000 Autumn Stakes (Grade 2)
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer – Morning Line
1. Western Reserve – Luis Contreras – JK Sweezey – 12-1
2. Tale of the Nile – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse – 15-1
3. Dragon Bay – Rafael Hernandez – Simon Stuart – 6-1
4. Gigantic Breeze – Gary Boulanger – Alex McPherson – 2-1
5. Melmich – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Kevin Attard – 3-5
Clickity Clack is back in South Ocean Stakes
Fresh off her Princess Elizabeth Stakes victory at the end of October, Clickity Clack is back in to go in next Wednesday’s $125,000 South Ocean Stakes at Woodbine Racetrack for trainer and co-owner Tony Gattellaro.
The Ontario Sires Stakes event is for two-year-old fillies and will be contested over 1-1/16 miles on the Tapeta track – the same course and distance that Clickity Clack has already proven herself on in a Princess Elizabeth photo finish on October 29.
“We kind of kept an open mind,” said Gattellaro of his decision to run back two and a half weeks after the Princess Elizabeth. “We were looking at the South Ocean as well as the Ontario Lassie [on December 3]. I was just kind of leaving it open and she’s heading into the race in good shape so I decided to enter her.”
Rafael Hernandez retains the mount aboard Clickity Clack after being paired up with the filly for two consecutive wins.
“I was real thrilled with the last performance,” said Gattellaro. “I thought actually Rafael Hernandez deserved a lot of credit for that. He rode a hell of a race. Any time you have a young horse on the inside coming down the stretch, to see the horse prevail and gallop out on top, you’ve got to get excited about that – just to see ‘Raffi’ be able to get that rally out of her. He was also very encouraging for her to run back so, as a team, we’re thrilled to take a shot.”
A $20,000 Canadian Thoroughbred Horse Society Yearling Sale purchase, the daughter of Silent Name has already banked more than $135,000 in her first four starts for Gattellaro and his partners.
The field also includes Woodbine Stakes winner Line of Vision, who is trained by Andrew Smith for Joey Gee Thoroughbreds. The Court Vision filly won the Victorian Queen Stakes last time out on October 14 over six furlongs. Luis Contreras picks up the mount.
Trainer Robert Tiller has a pair of South Ocean contenders in Princess Elizabeth fourth-place finisher Gizmo’s Destiny and supplemental entry Gosudarina, who broke her maiden going seven furlongs on November 4. Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva looks to repeat in the South Ocean aboard Gizmo’s Destiny after winning the 2016 edition in rein to Cindervella.
The field also includes Bramble Queen, who has earned the field’s top Beyer’s Speed Figure of 70 finishing fourth in a graded 1-1/16 mile turf stakes at Belmont last month for trainer Mike Dini.
The stakes-placed She’s the Berries, last-out winner Close Image and maidens Show Me the Prize and Swagitude complete the line-up.
The following is the complete field for the $125,000 South Ocean Stakes, which is scheduled as race six on Wednesday’s program. First race post time is set for 6:45 p.m.
$125,000 South Ocean Stakes
Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer
1. Show Me the Prize – Simon Husbands – Debra Rombis
2. Clickity Clack – Rafael Hernandez – Tony Gattellaro
3. Close Image – Steven Bahen – Sylvain Pion
4. Gizmo’s Destiny – Eurico Rosa Da Silva – Robert Tiller
5. Gosudarina (S) – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Robert Tiller
6. Line of Vision – Luis Contreras – Andrew Smith
7. She’s the Berries – David Moran – Brian Lynch
8. Bramble Queen – Jesse Campbell – Michael Dini
9. Swagitude – Christopher Husbands – Blair Miller
Source: Woodbine Communications Office