Day At The Track

John Caldow chasing that 'elusive mile'

05:00 AM 22 Apr 2010 NZST
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John Caldow
John Caldow
Duane Ranger photo

John Caldow has an amazing record in Group 1 races for fillies and mares, but Australia's premier mobile mares' race - the $100,000 Cordina Chicken Farms Ladyship Mile - is one feature that has eluded him.

He's had a few shots at it, but as yet been unable to add the race to a CV that includes four Victoria Oaks, three Australian Oaks, the Queen Of The Pacific twice, six female Vicbred Super Series titles and a Breeders Crown and Australian Pacing Gold final for the girls.

"I've been narrowly beaten in the Ladyship twice," Caldow recalled. "Mother Courage got beaten a nose (in 2000) and Nolarama, one more step and she wins (in 2003).

"Both of those went as close as you can get without winning, so I've had a few cracks at it but it's been the one that's got away. Hopefully we can get it this year."

The top Melton reinsman, who has driven 100 winners every season since 1991/92, gets what could be his best shot at winning the race when he partners Mendelico tomorrow night at Menangle.

She's been a revelation this season with 12 wins from 19 starts including the Group 2 George Johnson in Tasmania and the Angelique Club Cup at the final Moonee Valley meeting.

The daughter of Pacific Fella tuned up for the Ladyship with a 16-metre win in a Vicbred Super Series heat at Kilmore on April 8 and has drawn well in gate five. She will start from four if emergency Miss Laura Jane doesn't get a run.

"She had a hard run at Tabcorp Park (when ninth in the Jodies Babe), but then she was back on track at Kilmore," Caldow said. "She felt terrific there and just jogged in, so I'm looking forward to Friday night."

Mendelico is TAB Sportsbet's $2.80 favourite and heads a strong Victorian Ladyship Mile contingent. Make Mine Cullen is the $3.80 second favourite from the pole with Jazzam (barrier six) on the third line at $4.40.

The Lisa Miles-trained Pacific Charm ($14, barrier 11) and Mendelico's stablemate Very Chic ($17, 12) round out the Victorians engaged in the 9pm event.

Mendelico is one of two fancied Group 1 runners for Caldow at Menangle with the driver to take the reins behind Sushi Sushi in the $300,000 Australian Pacing Gold final (1609m) for the two-year-old boys.

The Ahmed Taiba-trained gelding, who will start from barrier one, occupies the second line of betting at $3.60 behind Royal Verdict ($3) in the race Caldow won back-to-back behind Waranga Driver (1995) and Croesus (1996).

"It's a great field and now that he's drawn one he's right in it," Caldow said. "There's a heap of depth in this year's final and any horse could win with the right, so the draw's a big advantage for me."

Along with the Ian Dornauf-trained favourite, Victoria has Peter Tonkin trio Dee Devito ($7, barrier four), Devilish Smile ($7.50, nine) and Mathias ($26, 12) in the APG final plus the Emma Stewart-trained Jadahson ($18, three).


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