A cruel photo-finish loss suggests highly promising Melody Again is the sprinter to beat in Saturday’s Royal Randwick TAB Highway – a horse that is likely to progress to bigger occasions.
Scone trainer Scott Singleton is a series specialist, winning five Highways with numerous placings, while punter’s memory banks and replays indicate it should surely have been six wins last start through the Your Song filly.
Melody Again is the $4.20 TAB favourite on the strength of it. The horse was the run of the day or close enough to it.
Melody Again was beaten in the tightest of finishes by Zaru two weeks ago at headquarters after a tremendous final section from near last, that compared with city Saturday graders on the day.
The lightly raced filly returns, further primed from a let-up with 55kg again for Mitchell Bell into the $120,000 Class 3, 1200m episode with numerous recent winners.
Scott is not deterred by a precarious barrier 17 where few episodes have been one.
“Barrier one wasn’t any good to her last time, she was shuffled right back and the traffic beat her, but the jockey still thought she’d won and so did I,” Singleton offered.
“You won’t get him off her. Huge run, she’s a big strong filly with a tendency to be a bit sluggish and get back but she’s improved this prep.
“Lightly raced, so still working her out. Whether she genuinely wants 1400m to a ‘mile’ or runs her best races fresh at 1200m.
“The other day she was first-up off a trial, so unlucky and final sections enormous. So there is something about her.”
Significantly last prep Melody Again won over 1600m at Scone from clear last with an explosive finish.
Meanwhile, normally the rails draw is coveted in capacity Highway fields. But it was all adversity for the filly in just her fifth race start.
Slowly away she was buried and conceding experience and weight to older rivals carrying 56kg with Mitchell Bell.
She straightened second last, eight lengths from the leaders at the 200m and attempting to find clear running, Melody Again collided and was turned sideways.
She didn’t get clear and balance up until Zaru had stolen the race. Even then race broadcasters were divided on the photo as she absolutely powered.
And further incentive for Saturday is the sizzling 1.09.60 winning time for a country class 2, and the filly’s super closing sections.
Zaru returns and is well drawn although up 1.5kg to 60.5kg for that last start win.
Prolific series winner Matt Dunn returns with Take the Kitty ($7), fitter for a powerful third behind Zaru and Melody Again, after the Murwillumbah trainer won last week’s ‘Gardens’ Highway with Irish import Eaglemont.
Headquarters at present is a Soft 5 in fine weather.
– Racing NSW