BEN Melham has launched his spring in group 1 style.
Melham rode Dissident ($12) to victory in the first group 1 race of the season in Victoria - the $400,000 Memsie Stakes, 1400m, at Caulfield on Saturday.
Dissendent took his earnings past $1m in beating home the Gai Waterhouse-trained Sweet Idea ($8), with Puissance de Lune ($8) fighting on for third after being tucked in behind the pace.
This gives Melham, who began his riding career in his hometown of Ballarat, seven career group 1 wins – five of them in South Australia.
His only other group 1 win in Victoria is champion mare Black Caviar in the 2010 Patinack Classic at Flemington – like Dissident also trained by Peter Moody.
This was Melham’s first ride on Dissindent, which won last season’s group 1 Royal Randwick Guineas.
He is hoping to retain the ride.
Melham said he had been waiting a long time to repay Moody for giving him his first group 1 aboard Black Caviar.
“He’s a good trainer Pete (Moody) and he’s been a big supporter of mine the whole way through,” Melham said.
“They ran along at a decent clip today but that suits (Dissident’s) style, he’s not a horse that you can stop and start on, you’ve got to keep him rolling and he really powered through the line today.
“He’s a big, gross horse and I’m sure there’s improvement to come from him,” Melham said.
Moody described Dissident as a ”high-class colt”.
“The world’s his oyster now, that was a top class field and he put them to the sword and really got the job done,” Moody said.
“He’s mixed it with the best of his age and everyone’s had a doubt on that form but he’s taken on the good old weight-for-age horses here and he’s dead-set put them to the sword.
“He deserves his place in any weight-for-age field in the country on the back of that performance,” he said.
Dissident is on course for another clash with Darren Weir’s Puissance group 1 Makybe Diva Stakes, 1600m, at Flemington on September 13.
Brad Rawiller believes Puissance De Lune is on track for the Makybe Diva Stakes.
Puissance de Lune remains pursuit of his first group 1, with the Memsie being his third minor placing in five tries at that level.