11/10/2017 11:30AM

Melmich streaks into Autumn Stakes

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Michael Burns
Melmich wins the Durham Cup Stakes at Woodbine on Sept. 30.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Melmich will seek his sixth consecutive win in Sunday’s Grade 2, $175,000 Autumn Stakes for 3-year-olds and up over 1 1/16 miles on Woodbine’s Tapeta.

Melmich is unbeaten in five Woodbine starts this season and comes into the Autumn off of a 7 1/2-length victory in the Grade 3 Durham Cup Stakes on Sept. 30 over 1 1/8 miles on Tapeta. Melmich saved ground along the rail at the back of the field in the Durham Cup, before drawing away from his rivals with ease in the stretch.

“He had a good trip,” trainer Kevin Attard said. “He was pretty impressive.”

Attard said Melmich is in good order going into the Autumn. Since the Durham Cup, Melmich has worked twice, including a five-furlong Tapeta breeze in 1:01.40 on Nov. 5.

“He’s doing well,” Attard said. “He had a good work last weekend. I was pleased with the way he went. He looks well and he’s eating well, so he’s up for one of his typical races.”

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Melmich could strengthen his Canadian Horse of the Year credentials with another victory in the Autumn, which would be his fourth graded stakes win of the year. Other leading contenders for Canadian Horse of the Year at the moment include Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint runner-up Ami’s Mesa and seven-time stakes winner Pink Lloyd.

“It’s a tough vote,” Attard said. “Melmich has won three graded races. At the end of the day, he still has some proving to do. If he can win his next one, and possibly if we get another start into him and win that as well, I think he’s going to establish himself as a top candidate.”

Key Contenders

Melmich, by Wilko
Last 3 Beyers: 97-90-97

◗ Leading jockey Eurico Da Silva was sitting at 32 stakes wins for the meet heading into the weekend, four short of the record of 36 stakes wins by a jockey in a Woodbine season held jointly by Avelino Gomez and Todd Kabel.

Dragon Bay, by Parading
Last 3 Beyers: 80-81-90

◗ He’s made his last five starts on turf, including a win in the Grade 2 Nijinsky Stakes on July 29.

◗ He did beat two-time Canadian champion Are You Kidding Me in his last start on Tapeta in the Grade 2 Eclipse Stakes on May 20.

Gigantic Breeze, by Giant’s Causeway
Last 3 Beyers: 96-96-97

◗ He’s lost to Melmich twice this year by a combined two lengths, but broke through in his last start in the Presque Isle Downs Mile Stakes on Sept. 17.

Tale of the Nile, by Pioneerof the Nile
Last 3 Beyers: 86-86-83

◗ He moves from Presque Isle Downs to Woodbine and will make his first start for leading trainer Mark Casse.

◗ He was fifth behind Gigantic Breeze two starts back in the Presque Isle Downs Mile Stakes on Sept. 17.

Western Reserve, by Indian Charlie

Last 3 Beyers: 91-96-94

◗ He’ll be making his first start on a synthetic track since running fourth in this race in 2015 and will be in search of his first graded stakes win.