Ben Melham brings the best out of talented speedster
Ontrack’s smart sprinter Tavisan overcame a strong track bias to score a convincing sprint win at Caulfield.
The son of Tavistock proved too slick for his rivals in the 1100 metres Le Pines Handicap, leading all the way on a day when on pace horses were disadvantaged by a strong headwind.
Tavisan was the only leader to win on the nine race programme and his win came mainly as a result of an intelligent ride by Ben Melham.
“The strong wind certainly stopped all the other leaders on the day but Ben used the horse conservatively in the early stages and then scouted out wide turning for home and found the part of the track where the other winners had come from,” said Ontrack Thoroughbreds’ Managing Director Grant Morgan.
“Ben is our preferred rider in Victoria and he certainly vindicated our decision to reunite him with Tavisan.
“His record on the horse is proof of how well he knows Tavisan - having ridden him seven times for three wins and two placings,” said Grant Morgan.
Tavisan is prepared on the Caulfield track by Mick Price and Michael Kent Junior and the partners were bullish about the horse’s chances pre-race.
“The biggest problem with this horse has been getting him fit,” Price said.
“Fitness isn’t usually a problem with him but he’s a burly horse and he’s taken a while to get fit. I can’t do anything other than to use the races to get him fit.
“He’s just a strongly built gelding and I think today you saw the benefit of a nice ride but we have some race fitness for the first time this preparation,” said Mick Price.
Plans are to contest a 1200 metres race at Moonee Valley in a fortnight and Tavisan will get his chance over the winter in open handicaps.
The horse races well at Moonee Valley with four starts there producing a win and two placings, one of them when he had Brutal fully extended to beat him by a neck in the Listed McKenzie Stakes at three.
Bred in New Zealand, Tavisan was purchased out of the Hallmark Stud draft at the 2017 Karaka Premier Sale by Grant Morgan for $135,000. He has now won five times for earnings of $326,351.
Congratulations to our owners: Ontrack Thoroughbreds No 1 Syndicate, Phoenix Thoroughbreds, Adrian Abrecht, Jim Lagos, Lewis Prince, Eric Newsome, David Worthley, Vin Harink, Mark Snowden, Mark Ostermeyer, Neil Evison, Mark Horn, Lisa Saxton, Bebe Mawer.