Mon, 03 September 2018
Story by Dennis Ryan, The Informant
The stars aligned for Melody Belle at Hastings today as she delivered on her favourite’s label with a tenacious win in the Gr. 1 Tarzino Trophy.
From the time she won the Gr. 2 Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa two weeks ago, Melody Belle had been the punters’ elect for the first Group One race of the new season. Nothing at racing’s elite level is that straightforward, but the combination of deft training by Jamie Richards, a perfect ride by Shafiq Rusof and the mare’s own class and courage saw her home by half a length from second favourite Hiflyer.
“She’s a real racehorse,” said Richards after the biggest win of his first month training solo for the Te Akau operation. “After we had no luck in Sydney in the autumn we brought her home and decided to set her for the Foxbridge Plate and the Tarzino Trophy.
“I hadn’t been that confident going into the Foxbridge, but the way she came out of it and her work had been super, I knew she had to be a big chance today. It’s great when everything goes so smoothly.”
Richards paid a special compliment to Rusof, who returned from Singapore to Matamata’s Te Akau base earlier in the winter and has met every challenge and opportunity that has since been presented.
“Suppy is riding so well, he found a great spot for her in the Foxbridge and she delivered, and again today he gave her an ideal trip.”
Melody Belle, the winner of the Karaka Million and the Queensland Sires’ Produce Stakes as a two-year-old, didn’t have such a productive season at three, but there’s no denying the racehorse that she has since become.
“It’s one thing to win a Listed two-year-old race worth $1 million, but to now win a Group One race – nothing beats that!” said John Galvin, the manager of the Fortuna Syndicate that races Melody Belle.
“There’s something like 20 of the 34 members of the syndicate here today, it’s just so satisfying to see them and all their supporters having such a great time.”
As unabashed as ever, Melody Belle took everything in her stride today, even wanting to pick grass as strapper Teina Walters led her around the birdcage while the trophy presentations were taking place.
That attitude is bound to have her in peak order when the Gr. 1 Windsor Park Plate comes around in three weeks’ time but judging by the efforts of others behind her today, she will need to be.
Bred by long-time Haunui client, Marie Leicester, Melody Belle was sold through Haunui Farm's 2016 Premier Draft for $57,000. Haunui will offer a Tavistock half-sister to Melody Belle at Karaka 2019.