By Grahame Timbrell
The one thing Melted Moments does not need is a hot day and trainer Paul Grills will be watching the temperature closely leading up to Monday’s Muswellbrook Cup Prelude.
“He got heat stroke at the start of the year and it really knocked him around,” Grills said. “I spelled him straight away, but he lost all form and it took him a good part of this year to recover. He is really back in form now and I will never put him through that again.
“If the temperature gets above 30 degrees he won’t be running but the weather forecast says it won’t get to that. The horse does not like the heat and neither do I and that is why I train out of Armidale.”
A field of 11 has accepted for the Prelude as a lead up to the $100,000 MRS Services Group Muswellbrook Cup (1500m) on Friday, December 8. Melted Moments is in career best form with four wins and a second from his last five starts but admittedly against slightly weaker company than he meets on Monday. The winning streak started after Grills took the blinkers off the six-year-old.
“He’s only a small horse but he is tough and a bit of a tough one for jockeys to ride,” Grills said. “He gets his head up and hates turns and always goes around them about five or six wide. For some reason taking the blinkers off seems to have switched him on again even if his manners haven’t improved.”
If Melted Moments wins the Prelude the horse will go on to the cup. Leading Mid North Coast jockey Peter Graham rode Melted Moments when he won at Grafton two starts back and is back aboard.
Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli has the Muswellbrook cup in his sights with Next Level and the horse has his final lead up in the Prelude. Next Level’s last two runs have been at Muswellbrook for a third and a fourth, his best two efforts for more than 12 months. “I think he is gradually getting his confidence back,” Portelli said.
Kris Lees has accepted with the topweight and Group-placed mare Rustic Melody (Aaron Bullock) which resumed with an encouraging fifth in the Aberdeen Cup. She may also head to the cup then on to the Gold Coast in January.
Alliterate, trained on the track by Pat Farrell, will appreciate the drop back in grade. Her last four starts have been in Sydney against harder company for a win at Rosehill and a third at Warwick Farm in midweek company. She was beaten three and a half lengths when a last start seventh at Rosehill in a Benchmark 83 against Saturday company.
Josh Adams, who rode her for the first time when she ran third at Warwick Farm, has the ride. The talented Adams has quickly made his mark since returning to riding and continued his success with a winning double at Port Macquarie this week.
1-1.55, MAGIC MILLIONS GOLD COAST YEARLING SALE 2YO, 900m: DON’T DOUBT ARTHUR 1, Silks ‘N’ Stars 2, Glamour Factor 3, Lord Byron 4.
2-2.35, ARROWFIELD MAIDEN, 1000m: MATCHFOX 1, Forever Ranga 2, Charsea’s Gift 3, Buffy 4.
3-3.10, GREAT NORTHERN SUPER CRISP LAGER MAIDEN, 1280m: ANDRIANA 1, Zanjan 2, Cinque Stella 3, Cast A Spell 4.
4-3.45, GODOLPHIN BENCHMARK 50, 900m: MISS GIGI 1, Norah Girl 2, Joanne’s Cruisin’ 3, Kabelo 4.
5-4.20, MUSWELLBROOK CUP PRELUDE, 1450m: ALLITERATE 1, Rustic Melody 2, Melted Moments 3, Allandale Lass 4.
6-4.55, 1ST RUBICK YEARLINGS IN 2018 CLASS ONE, 1450m: PARIS SIZZLER 1, Roy’s Command 2, Dizzy Success 3, I Am The Fox 4.
7-5.30, BENGALLA MINING BENCHMARK 61, 1280m: PENULTIMATE STAR 1, Love None 2, Fancy Nickers 3, Miss Casier 4.
Best Bets: Paris Sizzler, Penultimate Star