Trainer Paul Grills watching temperature gauge closely at Muswellbrook

THE one thing Melted Moments does not need is a hot day and trainer Paul Grills will be watching the temperature closely leading up to Monday’s Muswellbrook Cup Prelude.

“He got heat stroke at Inverell at the New Year’s Day meeting and it really knocked him around,” Grills said.

“I spelled him straight away, but he lost all form and it took him a good part of this year to recover.

“He is really back in form now and I will never put him through that again.

“If the temperature gets above 30 degrees he won’t be running but the weather forecast says it won’t get to that.

“The horse does not like the heat and neither do I and that is why I train out of Armidale and why the horse loves racing at Armidale.

“It never gets hot here.”

A field of 11 has accepted for the Prelude as a lead up to the $100,000 MRS Services Group Muswellbrook Cup (1500m) on Friday, December 8.

Melted Moments is in career best form with four wins and a second from his past five starts but admittedly against slightly weaker company than he meets here.

The winning streak started after Grills took the blinkers off the six-year-old.

“He’s only a small horse and tough but a bit of a mongrel for jockeys to ride,” he said.

“He gets his head up and hates turns and always goes around them about five of six wide.

“He still does it with the blinkers off, but it has certainly improved him.”

If Melted Moments wins the Prelude the horse will go on to the cup.

“I found this race (the Prelude) because I thought it suited him and I hadn’t even thought about the cup until someone asked me what I would do if he won,” Grills said.

“I thought then we would have to push on to the cup.

“After that there is a nice race for him at Armidale 11 days later then he can for a break until the cooler months next year.”

Leading Mid-North Coast jockey Peter Graham rode Melted Moments when he won at Grafton two starts back and is back aboard for this race.

Warwick Farm trainer Gary Portelli has the Muswellbrook Cup in his sights with Next Level and the horse has his final lead up in the Prelude.

Next Level’s last two runs has been at Muswellbrook for a third and a fourth, his best two efforts for more than 12 months.

“I think he is gradually getting his confidence back,” Portelli said. 

Kris Lees has accepted with the top weight and Group place mare Rustic Melody (Aaron Bullock), which resumed with an encouraging fifth in the Aberdeen Cup.