MELODY BELLE wins the Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa in dramatic fashion

A nail-biting finish to the Group Two Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate (1200m) at Te Rapa on Saturday 18th August saw former top juvenile Melody Belle provide her trainer Jamie Richards with the perfect birthday present and provide yet another great racing thrill for her big group of Fortuna Syndicate Members

Race favourite Julius and Melody Belle set down to a pitched battle in the middle of the track over the final 200m as they cleared out from their rivals. Although somewhat dwarfed by the imposing frame of the favourite, Melody Belle and rider Shafiq Rusof refused to yield as she put her nose in front at the right time to snatch victory from a game Julius with veteran stayer Authentic Paddy storming home late for third.

Against a very good field in the $100,000 event, Melody Belle (4 m Commands – Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) reigned supreme. Winning a trial narrowly but well on 17 July at Te Rapa, when having her first sight of the course, Melody Belle was given a beautiful inch-perfect ride by Shafiq and was able to nail race favourite Julius (Swiss Ace), on the line, winning by a nose.

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Melody Belle wins the Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate 18th August 2018

Proficient with give in the ground, Melody Belle coped with the Slow 9 footing better than most, running the 1200 metres in 1:13.9 and last 600m in 36.9. In addition, she returned surprisingly generous odds on the NZ TAB tote: $9.40 & $3.00 – but the price was also a reflection in the depth of talent amongst her rivals.

As a Two-Year-Old, Melody Belle had won the Karaka Million (Listed, 1200m), Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m) at Awapuni, and Queensland Sires’ Produce Stakes (Gr. 2, 1400m) at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, in succession during her juvenile season, leading her to be crowned Champion Two Year Old of her Year. As a 3yo, she became the first Karaka Million winner since its inception  in 2008  to win at the Karaka Million meeting a year on, when successful in the Mongolian Khan Trophy (Gr. 3, 1200m) in January at Ellerslie but had disappointed slightly in the latter stages of her three-year-old campaign when unplaced in two Sydney runs in the Autumn of 2018

In taking out the Foxbridge, Melody Belle recorded her sixth win from 13 starts and her 5th win at Stakes level, taking her earnings to $986,406 for the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate Managed by Fortuna Director John Galvin.

The win also marked a fantastic start to the solo training career of Jamie Richards, following three seasons in partnership with Stephen Autridge.

Melody Belle, bred by Marie Leicester, is raced by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, a grouping of 34 individuals and was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis on behalf of Fortuna Syndications for $57,500 at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale, from the draft of Haunui Farm.