As if Tom Melbourne hasn’t found it hard enough to find the winners’ stall, the Doncaster Mile barrier draw has also conspired against him.
The seven-year-old’s owner Terry Henderson of OTI Racing played along with his cult status by asking Sky Racing personality Ron Dufficy to draw Tom Melbourne’s number on Tuesday for the $3 million Group One race.
Dufficy, has called for the horse to be re-named Tom Sydney, pulled 14 from the barrel.
Jockey Kerrin McEvoy put on a brave face, approaching his first ride on Tom Melbourne on Saturday with a positive mindset.
“It’s not ideal but Tom’s got a good second-up record and the Randwick mile suits him,” he said.
McEvoy, the 11th different jockey to take the reins since Tom Melbourne’s last win in the 2016 Albury Cup, got acquainted with him in a barrier trial in February.
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Tom Melbourne won that day so McEvoy is hoping his touch can also pay dividends when it matters most.
“I trialled him and he gave me a good feel. It’s about getting the right run and timing it right,” he said.
“These quirky types … you’ve got to try and trick them into winning without putting too much pressure on them too early in the race.
“It’s up to me now to try and extract the best out of him.”
Tom Melbourne, a $17 chance on the TAB market on Tuesday, loomed up to win the Group Two Ajax Stakes (1500m) on March 17.
But he had to settle for his ninth second placing when he was caught by stablemate and Doncaster rival Comin’ Through.
Dufficy tried to look on the bright side after the draw, saying: “He might like it out there.”