Melody Belle “Imperious” in winning the Livamol Classic

Although she had been crowned the NZ Thoroughbred Horse Of The Year for the 2nd time running just six days previously, Fortuna Star Mare, Melody Belle, (Commands-Meleka Belle) showed that she was not one to rest on her laurels when taking out the Livamol Classic (Group One – 2040m – $250,000) in a breathtakingly dominant fashion at Hastings 17th October. Sent our a strong favourite after being backed in from $2.60 on Thursday to $1.90 as they jumped, things didn’t go perfectly for her at the start. Pre race tactics had determined that rider Troy Harris would be positive out of the gate from her widish draw (barrier 12) and take up a spot behind the speed one off the rail, however some hold ups with loading runners had meant, as Troy Harris put it “she went to sleep in the barriers” and was rather tardy away. So Plan B saw her loping along with only four runners behind her as they left the front straight.   The race was run at a steady tempo, but with still just four horses behind him at the 600m mark, Harris decided that it was time to press the button and set the 11 Group One winning mare alight – she was the widest horse into the straight with six other runners inside her, but it was pretty clear that she was gathering momentum and with a few strides she had gathered in the leaders and extended her break to the line, winning by a margin of 2.75 lengths.

Click HERE to see race replay

Melody Belle’s victory was her 17th from 34 starts and her 12th Group One win, putting her one short of the  most Group Ones ever won by a NZ horse, that being the incomparable Sunline

Melody Belle – Livamol Classic – Hastings   – 17 October 2020

Fortuna Director, John Galvin, who had put the Melody Belle Syndicate Ownership Group together back in 2016 was a very proud and emotional man post race. Asked to describe her result, he said, “She was imperious today – in her last start here (Windsor Park Plate) she was brave and gutsy to get up off the canvass to grind out a win, but today she just proved that her title of Queen of the NZ Turf is well deserved. A fantastic result for her 34 strong ownership Group, a really fine bunch of people from all over NZ and one from Australia. And I am so happy for Troy, he has ridden Fortuna Syndicated horses 13 times now for 10 wins, including 4 Group One wins – he is a cool customer off the track and particularly cool on it. A huge thanks to Trainer Jamie Richards for the magnificent job he has done with this Mare and of course all of the Te Akau staff who work with her behind the scenes. Big kudos to David Ellis who acquired Melody Belle for us at the Karaka 2016 sale and who with his wife, Karyn Fenton-Ellis, are taking Te Akau Racing to stratospheric levels.” 

Melody Belle, who was bred by Marie Leicester, was acquired for NZ$57,500 by David Ellis at the NZ Bloodstock Karaka 2016 Premier Sale from the draft of Haunui Farms  and now has career earnings of just over $3,800,000, a 66 to 1 multiple.

Melody Belle was strapped by Mette Mosebo