MELODY BELLE sensational in Windsor Park Plate

The old adage “Form is temporary but class is permanent” was well to the fore Saturday 3rd October at Hastings race course when NZ’s Glamour Mare and Queen Of the Turf, MELODY BELLE, put in an outstanding galloping performance to take out the Group One Windsor Park Plate for the third year in succession. After returning home from Sydney after a couple of sub par performances in the early Spring, the pre race question on everybody’s lips was “can she return to her best?” Punters were taking no chance however with Melody Belle and stable mate and fellow Karaka Million winner, Avantage, vying for favouritism, with the latter starting as the slight pre post favourite. Melody Belle’s connections were wary of the fact that it was her very first time resuming at a 1600m trip and conceded that Avantage had the more recent race day experience,

And what a race it was with The Mitigator opening up a big lead and setting an extremely hot pace. Melody Belle had jumped well from her good gate and settled into 5th position one out from the rail. But Avantage was one back behind her stalking her every move. Melody Belle’s rider, Troy Harris, urged her up before the turn to mount her run, but with every stride she took, Avantage, with NZ leading jockey, Danielle Johnson aboard, was tracking her every step of the way. In the meantime, the horse who caused the big upset in the Tarzino Trophy just two weeks earlier, Callsign Mav, had skipped away at the top of the straight and established a three length break. In scenes reminiscent of the mighty battle between Melody Belle and DanzDanzDance in the 2019 Bonecrusher Stakes where those two mares fought it out the whole length of the Ellerslie straight, so it was with Melody Belle and Avantage, with Avantage going up to eyeball Melody Belle at the 200 metre mark, actually getting her head in front, but then the reigning Horse Of The Year fought back in the shadows of the post with Troy Harris standing high in the stirrups, exultant, once past the post. The time of 1.33.88 was a ripper, breaking the race record of 1.34.05, set by Jimmy Choux back in 2011.

Click HERE to see race replay

Melody Belle – Windsor Park Plate – Hastings  – October 2020

Melody Belle has now won 16 of her 33 race day starts, 11 of those 16 wins at Group One level, a record that now draws her equal with Rough Habit and only two short of the 13 Group One wins amassed by the mighty Sunline. Fortuna Syndications Director, John Galvin, was on course with his wife, Jessica, a part owner of Melody Belle and 18 other Members of the Ownership Group. “What an amazing performance we have just seen,” he said, “Jamie Richards (trainer) had her trained to the minute – what a spectacle for racing fans everywhere.” John also paid tribute to Te Akau racing supremo David Ellis, saying “What an incredible selection record this man has, buying these two great mares in successive years at Karaka, winning Karaka Millions in successive years and today only a nose separated them at the post at their very first race day meeting”

“And what can I say about Troy Harris, three times he has ridden in Group One events for Fortuna (twice with Melody Belle and once with Tell A Tale) and three times he has won for us – an incredible record.”

Melody Belle was acquired by David Ellis at the 2016 Karaka Million Sale for $57,500 on behalf of Fortuna and has now accumulated NZ$3.67m for her 34 Member Ownership Group. She was bred by Marie Leicester, who had the honour recently of receiving the 2020 Broodmare Of The Year Award for Melody Belle’s Dam Meleka Belle