Im Barney Rubble will be looking to emulate the deeds of Bitobliss by winning Friday night's City of Melton Plate.
The barrier gods have smiled upon Lance Justice and his unbeaten Im Barney Rubble ahead of tomorrow night’s 24th running of the Shire of Melton Plate.
Justice and his five-year-old son of Life Sign have come up with pole position for the 2240m, $50,000 Group 2 feature, and the local trainer is chipper about his chances of securing the Plate – a virtual replica of the Cox Plate trophy – for the third time.
“It’s a good horse’s race … bad horses don’t win the Melton Plate,” Justice said earlier this week.
The Melton horseman says he’s been contesting the Melton Plate since his South Australian training days, and he remembers well, though not fondly, getting narrowly rolled back in 1993.
In 2001, Justice combined with his stable superstar Sokyola to take out the Melton Plate before five years later winning aboard Tactical Dreamer.
This year, Justice admits he’s bumping into an extremely smart one in Caribbean Blaster in the Plate.
The Andy Gath-trained up-and-coming star will be long odds-on after dominant wins at his past two starts.
But the Gath runner has drawn 11 of 11, and Justice and Im Barney Rubble are going to ensure he does some work.
“He’ll have to make his run wide at some point,” Justice said.
“Im Barney Rubble can come home in 26secs, has a super turn of foot, and we really believe we have a great hope of winning the Melton Plate.”
Justice also takes Because I Can into the race, which will start from the second row for reinsman Leigh Sutton.
“He’s a very good horse,” Justice said.
“He’s improving all the time.
“You don’t string wins together like you used to, because the competition is so strong today, so to do what he’s been able to do, he’s a very good horse.
“Not sure he’s in Barney Rubble’s class just yet, but you cannot knock him.”
The Melton Plate is scheduled to get under way at 8.10pm.