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Cult figure Tom Melbourne ready for return

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Tom Melbourne (right) will be out to defy his reputation as a placegetter when he runs at Rosehill.

Chris Waller trains half the Ajax Stakes field at Rosehill, and although the favourite is among them he has a certain fondness for Tom Melbourne and Cellarman.

Cast as a loveable loser after he started his first preparation for Waller with a string of four second placings, Tom Melbourne races for the first time this year.

Cellarman is at the opposite end of the racing spectrum with the Group Two Ajax Stakes (1500m) the 14th start of a campaign that got underway in September.

While Tom Melbourne is accustomed to competing in stakes grade, Cellarman has his first nudge at black-type since he was fourth in the Group Two Stan Fox Stakes at Rosehill in the spring of 2016.

The four-year-old has raced 17 times since and has won six of his past nine races, including the past three on the trot.

“It’s a big step up in class, but it’s hard to knock a winner,” Waller said.

“He’s been a model of consistency and he gets in on the limit weight (53kg).”

Tom Melbourne starts his autumn campaign in what Waller described as ideal circumstances for the seven-year-old.

“He’s come back great, he’s drawn well and he’ll appreciate a bit of give in the track,” he said.

“Tom’s a little beauty. He’s trialled well, he’s working well and he looks well. He’ll run in the first two.”

Comin’ Through was the $3.80 favourite with the TAB on Friday while Tom Melbourne was the $4.80 second elect and Cellarman was a $10 chance.

Waller’s other runners in the 10-horse field are Life Less Ordinary ($10) and McCreery ($26).

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