Popular pacer Melpark Major will line up in his fifth consecutive Popular Alm Sprint this Sunday at Kilmore.
Melpark Major will line up in the Popular Alm Sprint for the fifth time on Sunday, trainer Alan Tubbs, driver Amy Tubbs and owner Don Smith all hopeful the nine-year-old can capture the race for a third time.
A winner of 33 races from 89 lifetime starts for stake earnings in excess of $860,000, Melpark Major first won the Popular Alm in 2008 when he upstaged perennial rival Smoken Up in blistering fashion.
In the 2009 sprint, Smoken Up hit back to score by a short half-head over Melpark Major before the Tubbs’ champion returned to the winners’ list a year later, beating Smoken Up by 2.6m.
Last year, Broadways Best got the chocolates with Melpark Major finished second.
“He goes well at Kilmore,” said proud owner Don Smith.
“He’s run two good runs and two ordinary runs this time in.
“Unfortunately he’s had no luck with the draw though. It’s supposed to be a random draw at Kilmore for this race but we’ve still drawn badly.”
Melpark Major was super impressive winning the Geelong Rocket on October 6 over Our White Knight and Jaccka Clive before a fair run for fifth in the Markovina behind Caribbean Blaster last start.
Despite his veteran status, Smith said Melpark Major’s summer target would be the Victoria Cup, which he won in 2008.
“We’re going for the Victoria Cup again,” he said.
“I don’t know if he’s got another prep in him or not. He’ll tell us when he gets tired.”
Smith, 78, bred Melpark Major from a mare of his, Golden Forrest, who ran third in a heat of the Victoria Oaks in 1998.
He initially did all the training and driving of the pacer, winning five races with him before transferring him to Alan Tubbs’ stables.
“I didn’t have any horses quick enough to work him with,” Smith said.
To win the $30,000 Popular Alm again Melpark Major will have to overcome an outside-back-row draw, but despite the barrier the bookmakers have the champion favourite at $2.25 over Decorated Jasper ($2.80).