Melissa Harrison calling on Lady Luck for Ladies Day

Melissa Harrison believes Keys To Love can run a big race at Orange on Saturday. Image: Racing Photography.

The always-popular Epiroc Ladies Day rolls around at Orange on Saturday, and local trainer Melissa Harrison hopes Lady Luck is on her side.

Starting three chances on the six-race Sky 2 program, Harrison likes the chances of Keys To Love in the 1290m Class Two Handicap. 

With Pierre Boudvillain in the saddle, Harrison said the five-year-old could go one better than her eye-catching second in the 1280m Benchmark 50 Handicap at Gilgandra. 

On that day, she bombed the start but charged up four and five wide for apprentice Will Stanley, finishing second when beaten a long-neck by The Hulkbuster.

“She should have won at Gilgandra,” Harrison told NSW Country and Picnic Racing. 

“Hopefully, she has a bit more luck on her home track. She missed the start and ran around them and just missed out; she was really brave.

“She is back in that kind of form and should run well again, and we wouldn’t mind a bit more rain for her.”

Harrison was pleased to be able to call on the services of in-form Frenchman Pierre Boudvillain, who’s had a lot to do with the Orange stable on and off the track.

“The funny thing is, he has broken in most of our yearlings over the last couple of years,” Harrison said. 

“Nelly (Foley) is his partner, and she is a good friend, and when this opportunity presented, we thought we’d grab Pierre. 

“He’s a very good jockey and rode for us at Parkes, and he rode her (Keys To Love) well.”

In the 1410m Benchmark 50 Handicap, stablemates Gilded Crown (Pierre Boudvillain, gate 10) and Bobby’s Secret (Ashleigh Stanley, gate 11) represent the Harrison yard.

“They are totally different horses, and one (Bobby’s Secret) will be at the front and one at the back, and hopefully, they can finish side by side,” Harrison said. 

“Gilded Crowd got back last start, and it was hard to make ground at Bathurst; we’ll put a line through that run. 

Before that, he was in a great vein of form, and I think he will run well, especially over seven furlongs and back on his home track. 
“Bobby’s Secret will be thereabouts and should nearly lead from the bad gate, and hopefully, he battles on.” 

In terms of Ladies Day, Harrison was pleased to have runners on Racing Orange’s big days. 

“It really is exciting,” Harrison said. 

“It’s our first Saturday, meaning since we’ve moved to Orange, and all the locals will be out and about, and we’re looking forward to it.” 

Adding to an exciting weekend for the stable, Harrison will start her first Country Championships runner, with Kelilah (Olivia Chambers, gate 13) set to begin in Sunday’s $150,000 Country Championships qualifier at Mudgee.

With the top two going through to the $1 million final at Royal Randwick on April 6, Harrison is thrilled to have her up-and-coming three-year-old taking on some of the best gallopers in the region. 

“We’re stoked because how often do you get to race with that sort of money in the bush, and it’s awesome to have a runner in it in our first year back out here,” Harrison said. 

“Her run last start at Dubbo was good, and she had no luck but fought bravely to the line.

“I think she wants seven furlongs, and she is a lightly raced filly on the way up, and this race will tougher and mature her up, but the way I see it, we’ve got to have a roll of the dice. 

“Plus, Olivia is riding well, and she’ll give her every opportunity.”

On a huge day at Orange on Saturday, fashions on the field will take over off-course, with Ladies Day giving local and visiting racegoers a chance to enjoy one of the best days of racing in the Central Districts. 

For more on the Epiroc Ladies Day, click here

On Sunday, all roads lead to Mudgee for the Country Championships. To learn more, click here.