MELODY BELLE – brilliant at Hastings Group One Windsor Park Plate – her 8th Group One success


She is turning into something else now, Melody Belle (5 m Commands – Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) boasting a race record of 23 starts, 13 wins – 8 of which have been at Group One level.

Having defended her Tarzino Trophy (Gr. 1, 1400m) title on the first day of the Bostock New Zealand Spring Carnival at Hastings, Melody Belle had no trouble doing the same in the $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (Gr. 1, 1600m) on Saturday 21st September.

Melody Belle – Dominant 8th Group One Victory – Windsor Park Plate – 21 September 2019

Given a gorgeous trip by rider Opie Bosson from her good barrier draw, Melody Belle loomed around the home bend and her customary powerful burst was too much for the opposition, winning by two and three-quarter lengths in a slick 1:34.1 for the 1600 metres on Good3 footing.

Bosson scored his third win in the race and is now unbeaten in six rides on the star mare. “It’s easy on a really good horse,” he said. “I came back a spot, just to get her travelling and probably went a bit soon but it didn’t really matter. She’s a top-class mare, doesn’t know when to lose, and an absolute pleasure to ride.”

Click HERE to see the race replay

Virtually backed off the board ($1.60 & $1.20), Melody Belle gave her army of supporters no cause for alarm, not only once the gates opened, but it could be said, from the moment she stepped onto the track. Like any great athlete, she was primed for the occasion.

“Last time she had to be outstanding in winning the Tarzino from well back in the field, but this time it was clinical,” said Fortuna Syndications Director John Galvin. “The way the race panned out it was just another day at the office for her. She presented in amazing condition: muscled up, ready to perform and as race track presenter Emily Bosson said pre race, you could almost see your face in her coat. She’s got that lovely bronze sheen to her. This is the second leg of the Triple Crown, her eighth Group One win and words fail me really. The leaders certainly set it up for her and they ran pretty quick, so it is just fantastic – she is a real credit to Trainer Jamie Richards and all of the Te Akau staff.”

Galvin said he was humbled by the upcoming opportunity of having Melody Belle being the first horse ever to win  the Hawkes Bay Triple Crown, when the Mare contests the $250,000 Livamol Classic (Gr. 1, 2040m) on 5 October at Hastings. “There has been some really good horses attempt the Triple Crown in the past and fail, Starcraft, Seachange, Jimmy Choux, so it’s a great honour and privilege to be able to come and have a go at that”, he said.

Te Akau principal David Ellis has been right on many counts when it comes to purchasing thoroughbreds, but the two that come to mind in regards to Melody Belle are, firstly, that he bought her and, secondly, he has said on many occasions that she would be better as a five-year-old, which certainly seems to be the case in the season to date.

Ellis purchased the reigning Horse of the Year as a yearling for $57,500 at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Sale, from the draft of Haunui Farm, on the account of breeder Marie Leicester. She has now won 13 of her 23 starts and $1.86 million in prize money for owners in the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate

“It’s quite incredible what she’s achieving,” Ellis said. “She was a Group One and Karaka Million winning Champion Two-Year-Old that has now gone on to win eight Group One races. She just seems to be getting better with age and her win today against a smart field was very dominant. She did very well and ate very well when she spelled at Te Akau Stud, and it’s no surprise she’s going to another level. Jamie (Richards) and the staff have done a terrific job with this mare all the way through and that man on top (Opie Bosson), what can you say. He’s a superstar rider, cool under pressure, and he just gave her the perfect ride.”

Back-to-back successes in the Windsor Park Plate by Melody Belle provided Te Akau Racing with a hat-trick in the race, following on from Gingernuts (Iffraaj) in 2016, while Bosson was also successful aboard Princess Coup (Encosta De Lago) who won the race in 2008 for Te Akau trainer Mark Walker.

Trainer Jamie Richards, who was in Sydney with the Te Akau runners Probabeel and Avantage said: It was a terrific win and she’s really going well. It set up nicely with the hot speed and it was a lovely ride. She really chased them down and put them to the sword. Obviously, the Triple Crown is our target with her and she’ll be back there (Hastings) in a couple of weeks. There are a lot of good horses that have failed to achieve Triple Crown success, so hopefully we’ve got the right horse in the right form to go there and be competitive. The plan thereafter is to go to Australia, providing that she comes through her next assignment in good shape. There are a lot of races she could target and one of those is the Cox Plate. But, we won’t get too far ahead of ourselves. Let’s concentrate on Hastings, and we can then firm up our plans.”

Melody Belle is raced by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, an ownership group of 37 individuals.

 Melody Belle Ownership Group – Windsor Park Plate – Hastings 21st September 2019

Melody Belle was strapped by Mette Mosebo.