Update time：2021-08-12 05:25Tag: just horse racing
Image: Steve Hart
Ben Melham?has been the beneficiary of the forced absence of Craig Williams?at Flemington
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Jockey Ben Melham?has been the beneficiary of the forced absence of Craig Williams?at Flemington.
Williams was stood down from riding at Flemington during the week by Racing Victoria’s Health Officer having ridden at the Eagle Farm meeting in Brisbane last Saturday.
The Greater Brisbane area was declared a ‘red zone’ during the week and Williams, along with a number of trainers, were forced into isolation.
Sent down from Sydney by Gary Portelli?for the Listed Taj Rossi Series Final (1600m), Melham guided?Royalzel, the $3.50 favourite, to?a three-length win from?Whatafox?($21) with Celtic Glory ($21) a head away third.
“Firstly,?I have to make mention of Craig Williams,” Melham said.
“Unfortunately, he couldn’t ride but I believe he had a part in the planning of this horse’s preparation. Thanks to him.
“He looks to have a good turn-of-foot but he’s had a few solid runs on heavy ground but Gary’s very good with his two-year-olds?and they were proven right again today.
“I watched his replays and I was very confident that the horse would run well.
“I did have it in the back of my mind that he’d had a solid first prep, but he’s a?beaut,?little horse though. He’s very straightforward, got a lovely attitude and a good turn-of-foot.”
Melham said he doubted how much further?Royalzel?could go, distance wise, saying the two-year-old son of?Snitzel?maybe a little too brilliant at this stage of his career.
“But who is to say that as he matures, he’s got the natural ability there, and Gary knows what he’s doing,” Melham said.
“He’ll certainly be a contender in the spring.”
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