MELODY BELLE brilliant Victory in Group One Windsor Park Plate

MELODY BELLE –  Windsor Park Plate – Hastings 22nd September

MELODY BELLE brilliant in Windsor Park Plate – now highest rated galloper racing in NZ

Sometimes on a racecourse a horse stands out, puts their hands up as the one to beat, and Melody Belle (4 m Commands – Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) was just that horse prior to winning the weight-for-age $200,000 Windsor Park Plate (Gr. 1, 1600m) on Saturday 22 September at Hastings.
Sure, having won the Tarzino Trophy (Gr. 1, 1400 metres) on the same course three weeks earlier, after resuming with win in the Foxbridge Plate (Gr. 2, 1200m) at Te Rapa, plus being $3.40 & $1.70 on the tote, were all pointers in her favour, but it was also the pristine condition in which she paraded and immediate focus as she commenced her preliminary that spelled doom for her opponents.
And what a win: easing down after pulling three lengths clear inside the final furlong to eventually win by a 1 ¾ lengths.
An inch perfect ride from Malaysian born jockey Shafiq Rusof saw him use the Commands four-year-old’s early gas from the number one barrier draw to position beautifully on the fence behind a strong speed set by pacemakers Contessa Vanessa and Sensible Princess.
Approaching the turn Rusof was giggling to himself as he peeled off heels to issue his challenge with the majority of the mare’s rivals struggling to make ground at a crucial stage of the race. Sent for home Melody Belle quickly established a winning break before coasting to the line to score by over two lengths from Savvy Coup, Wyndspelle and Seventh Up who all chased gamely but to no avail.
Click HERE see Race Video replay“She means a lot to me now that’s she won two Group Ones for me,” Shafiq said. “All the speed came from wide out and I just got into my spot. She travelled well and couldn’t have been better. I hadn’t done anything on her and she travelled very strongly. I didn’t ask her to do anything, but when I brought her out she sprinted and found the line very well.

Victorious rider Shafiq Rusof aboard Melody Belle

On Good3 footing, Melody Belle ran the 1600 metres in 1:35.3.

“She’s terrific isn’t she,” said trainer Jamie Richards. “Barriers win races and very important today. Lovely ride Shafiq again, but she’d trained on beautifully, and a big thank you to the team at home that takes such good care of her. Honestly, it’s outstanding.
“With a mare like her, it’s quite something to see her grow in confidence like she has just lately. Whichever you look at it, that was impressive.”
“She came into this race at the top of her game, she had trained on beautifully from her win here three weeks ago.
“She loves it. She knows she’s good, has a real swagger about her and prances around like she knows she’s pretty good. So, it’s a dream result and I can’t thank Dave (Ellis) and Mark (Walker) enough for the opportunity they’ve given me. Dave buys the horses and syndicates them with Karyn (Fenton-Ellis MNZM) and John (Galvin) slots in there as a very important part of our business with Fortuna.”Sharing that awe was John Galvin, the manager of the Fortuna Syndicate that races Melody Belle. “I know it might sound funny, but last night I dreamed she would do that,” Galvin said. “It’s just the way she’s racing, she gives you that level of confidence.”

Claiming her third Group One victory, having won the Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m), Karaka Million (Listed, 1200m), Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 2, 1400m) at Eagle Farm, and Mongolian Khan Trophy (Gr. 3, 1200m), the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (Group 2,1200m) and now the Hawkes Bay Racing Group One Double of Tarzino Trophy and Windsor Park Plate, Champion Two-Year-Old Melody Belle recorded her eighth win from 15 starts, taking her earnings to $1,236,406 for the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate. Purchased by Te Akau Racing boss David Ellis for $57,500 during the premier session of the 2016 National Yearling Sale, Melody Belle is raced by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate which is managed by long-time stable client, John Galvin. It is that trio of Ellis, Richards and Galvin who will now decide the next steps for the mare this season