Friday Flash 16th October

Four Fortuna runners Friday/Saturday 16th/17th October, three in NZ, one in Singapore

Khafeef takes his place in the Rating 65 2200 metre event at Wingatui 16th October – Race 3 @ 1.52pm. Plain in his two previous starts over 1600m at Timaru and Ashburton, he gets his opportunity here to shine over more ground and endeavour to replicate the form he showed in France before we acquired him – he will be ridden by Jason Laking from a handy barrier  – he does need to put his best foot forward here to engender confidence from his connections but will appreciate the step up in trip.

Melody Belle heads to Hastings Saturday 17th of October to defend her Livamol Classic (Group One 2040m) crown – Race 8 @ 4.25pm. Bolstered by her stunning victory in the Windsor Park Plate at the same venue two weeks ago, she has not put a foot wrong since with her work, her appetite and her demeanour. Troy Harris retains the ride – this Champion mare is a short price favourite to win her 12th career Group One race

Rhapsody In Blue contests the Rating 74 1200 metre event at Hastings – Race 7 @3.50pm. A last start winner over the same trip at Taupo on 13th September, she has done well since and gets her chance in this event in Saturday company. Danielle Johnson to ride from barrier 3 with 54.5kgs. This is a significant step up from winning a R65 at Taupo to take on a R74 event on a Premier Day, but good draw and top rider gives connections some confidence that she can run into the money

In Singapore, Hidden Promise contests the Class 5 1400m Turf event – Race 1 @ 5pm NZT. A last start winner in Singapore over 1800m on 19 Sept, he steps back in trip here to a distance he has not won at before (he has 6 Singapore wins to his name, all at 1600m or more). Gun Apprentice K Hakim takes the ride and brings his 3kg allowance to the table. Slightly tricky draw from Barrier 9 with rail out in D position, this won’t be easy for him at the 1400m trip, but a quality ride and the 3kg allowance could see him run into a top four placing at Odds!!!

Te Akau Track work this week – Fortuna Runners –  Matamata

Tuesday 13th October

Racing in the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings on Saturday,  Melody Belle (T Harris) galloped nicely over 1200 metres in 1.17.9, last 600 in 36.8.

Rhapsody In Blue (T Harris) pleased when galloping over 1000 metres in 1.04, last 600 in 36.9. She is aimed toward the Rating 74 1200 metres at Hastings on Saturday.

Thursday 15th October

Racing in the Group 1 Livamol Classic at Hastings on Saturday, Melody Belle (T Harris) looked great galloping over an easy 1200 metres in 1.25, last 600 in 39.7.


Other News

Harris bullish with Melody Belle

NZ Racing Desk

Jockey Troy Harris is confident Melody Belle can record her 12th Group One victory in the Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings on Saturday. Photo: Trish Dunell

No jockey will go into Saturday’s Gr.1 Livamol Classic (2040m) at Hastings with more confidence than Melody Belle’s (NZ) (Commands) rider Troy Harris. The 32-year-old Matamata hoop racked up his fifth Group One win when he guided Melody Belle to success in the Gr.1 Windsor Park Plate (1600m) at Hastings a fortnight ago and he has seen nothing since to convince him she won’t repeat the victory in Saturday’s weight-for-age feature.

“She’s bounced back to her best. She’s happy to be home,” Harris said.“She was really strong there last time and I couldn’t pull her up till the 800m which really gives me confidence she’ll run out the 2000m even stronger than she did the mile. “Her work was outstanding this morning (Thursday). If they couldn’t beat her last time, they won’t get close to her this week. That’s just how confident I am going into Saturday.”

Melody Belle was arguably at her most vulnerable for the Windsor Park Plate going into that race off two unplaced Sydney runs and a six-week gap between runs. She surged home in the closing stages to deny stablemate Avantage by a nose, her 11th Group One win and her 15th career win from 32 starts.“ She’s a real racehorse. She just wants to win. She puts herself there and tries her heart out,” Harris said.

Harris has ridden Melody Belle twice now for Group One wins in the Windsor Park Plate and last year’s BCD Group Sprint (1400m) at Te Rapa, part of a remarkable record the jockey has forged for the Fortuna ownership syndicate. He has yet to taste defeat in the colours at Group One level, having also partnered Tell A Tale to success in the Gr.1 New Zealand 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Riccarton in 2008. In all, he has had 12 rides in the Fortuna colours for nine wins, having ridden Tell A Tale eight times for five wins as well as getting two wins from as many starts aboard Leaderboard at Riccarton last spring.

The only potential stumbling block for Melody Belle this weekend could be her draw of barrier 12 but Harris can only see positives in that too after rain this week has seen the Hastings track drop into the slow range. “I was a bit worried when the draws first came out but they’ve had a bit of rain down there and being away from the fence might be an advantage,” he said. “Jamie normally lets me ride the race how I see it. We’ll see how she gets away from the barriers but I wouldn’t mind settling in front of a few of the outsiders. As I said I’m pretty confident. I’d be surprised if she got beaten.”

Harris can only remember riding in the race once before, when he finished 14th on Pentathon in 2008, but he’d like to win on Melody Belle to add to a strong family legacy in the race, joining his father Noel Harris’ three wins in the race aboard Secret Seal in 1987, Castletown in 1991 and Princess Coup in 2007 and his uncle Des Harris’ back-to-back wins aboard La Mer in 1978 and 1979. “It would be a good race to add to my CV and good to go down in the race history with Dad and my uncle,” he said.

Harris has five rides at Hastings, the others being Mandalorian, Son Of Bielski, Excelleration and Original Gangster.