OMG We Won the Karaka Million
29 Jan 2017
Yes it has been a huge night – David Ellis selected and bought Melody Belle who has just won the $1,000,000 Karaka Million – he also selected and bought Heroic Valour who went down just a nose in the $250,000 Karaka Mile – oh what a night! Yes – we are highly excited!!
YOU can be part of our very friendly and successful team – those horses cost $57,500 and $400,000 – further evidence that Te Akau buys horses at ALL budgets and that is what we will be doing again starting tomorrow … we will have a share in the horse for you!
Bring it on! and watch our website ….
Scenes of unbridled jubilation surrounded a stunning win by Melody Belle (2 f Commands – Meleka Belle, by Iffraaj) in the $1,000,000 Karaka Million (Listed, 1200m), on the eve of the New Zealand Bloodstock National Yearling Sales, at Ellerslie.
This is a race won previously by Te Akau with King’s Chapel when the event was raced at Te Rapa and was known as the NZB Classique – King’s Chapel was bought by Te Akau principal David Ellis for $45,000 and won three Group 1 races and a stakes race in Australia (and was also second there in a Group 1 to Grand Armee) – in his 3YO year when trained by Mark Walker, he was crowned Champion 3YO, Champion Sprinter/Miler and Horse of the Year!
David Ellis has been the leading buyer of yearlings at Karaka for the past eleven years, purchasing a host of stakes’ winners, while trainers Stephen Autridge & Jamie Richards, premiership winners from last season, homed in again with their 50th win for the season.
Owned by the Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate, managed by John Galvin, the first foal from winning mare Meleka Belle was purchased for $57,500 by David Ellis, from the draft of Haunui Farm, at the 2016 NZB Premier Yearling Sale.
“We came within a nose of winning both the big ones tonight which is fantastic,” said Ellis, reflecting on three-year-old colt Heroic Valour (Fastnet Rock) being beaten earlier in the six-race programme by a nose in the $250,000 Karaka 3YO Mile (Listed, 1600m).
In his welcoming speech, on the dais, after the Karaka Million, New Zealand Bloodstock founder Sir Peter Vela announced: “Next year not only will we have a million dollar two-year-old race, but a million dollar three-year-old race as well”.
“This horse (Melody Belle) was there to be bought by everybody but David Ellis and John Galvin did the work as part of a great Te Akau team,” Vela said.
“It’s a great pleasure to congratulate John, his owners, and the Te Akau team who made a fabulous choice in purchasing this Commands filly, from the draft of Haunui Farm, and ridden today by Opie Bosson to produce a dream result.
“We all dream about it and this group behind me on the podium can enjoy every moment of it, and my congratulations also to Stephen Autridge and Jamie Richards who have done an outstanding job in preparing this horse to win today, unbelievable.
“Well done and all the best for the sales this year,” he said.
From barrier three, with blinkers on, Melody Belle was out fast before steadying for cover in fourth passing the 900m and once clear in the straight she pounced on the leaders at the 250m, quickly asserted a two-length advantage and never looked like being beaten thereafter.
It was a terrific ride by Bosson and even better effort by the filly, who really did win well.
“I wasn’t too sure what to think after her gallop (Tuesday) but she’s a really laidback filly and the blinkers went on today, which helped, and she was really sharp on the bridle and turning for home I couldn’t believe how well she was travelling,” Bosson said.
“It shows that it’s not that expensive to get into a racehorse, into syndicates that John and Dave (Ellis) have, and to have a win like this is just unbelievable.
“It’s good to be home and working with Stephen Autridge, he’s my godfather, as well, and to get a big win for him is really humbling.”
Thought by some punters to be a far better chance than her odds suggested, Melody Belle returned $32.40 & $6.60 on the tote ($26.00 & $6.00 fixed).
On Good3 footing, she ran the 1200 metres in 1:10.9 and final 600m in 35.0.
“Steve and Jamie and all the staff have done a great job,” Ellis said. “This filly is in the stable run by Kerry Jones and Milou Grylls, two of the best women Te Akau has ever had in our thirty-five year history.
“I first saw this filly at Haunui Farm, around this time last year, and she was bred by one the best breeders in New Zealand, Marie Leicester, and she was a filly I just fell in love with the moment I saw her.
“She is by a great Australian stallion in Commands, from one of the best female families in New Zealand, and I was just so thrilled that we got the name Melody Belle, because Melody Belle was a filly that I watched race in the ‘70s and she was absolutely top-class. She was by Taipan II and raced by Marie Leicester’s parents Jim and Annie Sarten and trained by Ray Verner.
“So you get a big thrill out of choosing a filly and really knowing her background, and it’s a great team we have with Mark Walker, Jamie (Richards), helping me buy the horses. And my vet of over thirty years, Dr. Douglas Black, is there helping us and it’s just a real team effort.
“It’s been an incredible start to Jamie’s training career and you can see in the decisions that he and Steve are making, it’s a setup that is working very pleasingly.
“We’re going to be buying more horses this week to try and win the race next year, too.
“We were very stiff not to have Iffragal in the race, as she worked very well with Melody Belle on Tuesday morning” said Ellis, on the stable-mate who required a scratching to make the field.
“John Galvin has been an enthusiastic supporter of the stable for some time and that’s the second million dollar race we’ve won for him, the first million dollar race was Tell A Tale (winning the 2000 Guineas) and now to win another one with Melody Belle is very satisfying. He’s a great winner and a very gracious loser when things don’t go well, and we’re lucky he supports the team,” Ellis said.
The win by Melody Belle followed another smart winner for Fortuna Syndications with Its Our Showtime (Showcasing) an impressive fresh-up winner a day earlier at Pukekohe.
John Galvin said: “It’s the third time that Fortuna has had a runner in this great race and third time lucky today.
“I would particularly like to thank New Zealand Bloodstock and Sir Peter Vela for dreaming up the concept and putting this in place ten years ago.
“I’ve had a long association with David Ellis and Te Akau Racing, David and Jamie bought this horse under budget and she is a great selection, so thank you all. Steve and Jamie have trained her to a tee and we thought she could deliver if she got the run – and she did.
“Opie, you’re a fantastic rider and he rode his first winner for me thirteen years ago.
“Thank you to Jasmine Fawcett for strapping the filly and last but not least thank you to all the 27 or 28 wonderful owners we have in this syndicate.”
Jamie Richards said: “It’s a huge buzz and full credit to everyone behind the scenes that buy the horses. David (Ellis) selected her and John’s gone on and syndicated her and the rest is history”.
“The team at home has done a wonderful job with her and it was a lovely ride by Opie – shit he’s riding well. It just shows in these big races how important a draw can be and every horse then gets their chance.”
Richards said her previous start was about having her spot on for this race, ‘but blinkers went on, Opie came down and galloped her on Tuesday and was really happy’.
“I’m thrilled for John, he puts a lot into the industry and he has a loyal bunch of clients and owners here tonight and it’s a big buzz, and we’ll be out there (at the sales) tomorrow trying to find another one for next year.
Stephen Autridge said: “She’s a great little filly, with great owners, so really pleased. Nothing went right with her in the run last time and I said ‘forget she went around’, it was run for today and everything went wrong anyway, but [today] she got the right draw, the right run, and right jockey”.
Melody Belle is a naturally talent filly and it showed in spades when winning the illustrious Karaka Million.
Melody Belle was strapped by Jasmine Fawcett.
Photo credit – www.raceimages.co.nz