A lovely filly bought by David Ellis, trained by Te Akau and raced by Fortuna Syndicators won the Karaka Million in January 2017.
In March 2017 at her next start after unfortunately missing the Group 1 Sistema Stakes because of a minor ailment, she stormed home to claim the $225,000 Group 1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce Stakes over 1400m marking her as the season’s most outstanding 2YO filly.
If that claim needed any reinforcement, her subsequent four length whitewash of her opposition in the A$250,000 Group 2 BRC Sires’ Produce Stakes at Eagle Farm on 27 May 2017 wowed commentators.
A terrific result for a filly who cost just $57,500 – to win now almost 20 times her purchase price!
She was named Champion 2YO for the 2016/17 season in September 2017.
In 2018 she returned to the scene of her most impressive Karaka Million victory and claimed the $70,000 Group 3 Mongolian Khan Trophy by 3.5 lengths.
In August that year she kick started her 4YO in style by winning the $100,000 Group 2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate over 1200m against a formidable field at Te Rapa. Her victory was Te Akau trainer Jamie Richards first win as sole stable trainer since taking over the reins on 1 August, and on his birthday too!
Her next start saw another victory and another Group 1 title – on 1 September, the first day of Spring, Melody Belle was dominant against a class field in the $200,000 Group 1 Tarzino Trophy over 1400m on the first day of the Hawkes Bay Racing carnival at Hastings.
She returned to Hastings for the second day of the carnival to score back to back Group 1 wins as she trounced a class field in the $200,000 Group 1 Windsor Park Plate over 1600m.
After a massive dose of bad luck when finishing third from the outside gate (with the best sectionals of the day) in the Group 1 Railway at Ellerslie on New Year’s Day – she showed class is permanent when claiming her fourth Group 1 victory in the $200,000 Group 1 BCD Sprint at Te Rapa in February 2019.
Not to be stopped there, two weeks later on 23 February 2019 Melody Belle trounced a quality field to claim her fourth Group 1 for the season, the $200,000 Haunui Farn Group 1 Classic 1600m at Otaki. This became her fifth Group 1 of her career – with Opie Bosson in the saddle (who remains unbeaten on her) – it gave Opie victory in the only Group 1 that had eluded him – now a “full set”, meaning Te Akau’s stable rider has won every Group 1 in the country.
The excitement rolled on to Auckland Cup Day when Melody Belle lined up to contest the $200,000 Group 1 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes WFA 2000m, her first attempt over the distance. Stirking a Heravy10 track posed some questions, and taking on the dual Group 1 winner of the season Danzdanzdance had the race promoted as the match of the season. To our mare’s total credit, as it indeed came down to an epic two-horse war in the straight, full of courage and heart Melody Belle refused to give in.
This race victory became her fifth Group 1 scalp of the season (as well as the Group 2 Foxbridge Plate) and her sixth career Group 1 – she now surpasses the outstanding horse Darci Brahma as Te Akau’s mosat Group 1 winning horse. He too was of course purchased by David Ellis from Karaka just as this girl was.
Melody Belle was named 2018/19 Champion Sprinter/Miler and 2018/19 Horse of the Year at the NZTR Horse of the Year awards in September 2019.
With six career Group 1 wins to her credit, Melody Belle kicked off the 2019/20 season when running fourth in the $100,000 Group 2 US Navy Flag Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa, the race she had won the previous season.
She then returned to Hastings in late August to defend her $200,000 Group 1 Tarzino Trophy crown – and defied all doubters when cruising to victory with Michael McNab aboard – from the carpark draw of 15!
As if defending her Group 1 Tarzino Trophy wasn’t enough … three weeks later she returned to defend her Group 1 Windsor Park Plate title from last season and cruised home by almost three lengths to bag her 8th Group 1 scalp!!
Her 9th Group 1 came on 5 October 2019 when a huge crowd gathered to see this bonny mare make double history – she became the first horse ever to win the Hawke’s bay Triple Crown (all three Group 1’s) as well as now holding the title of winner of the most ever Group 1 races in New Zealand.
Previously she had been tied with (King) Mufhasa, a two-time Horse of the Year, on eight domestic Group 1 titles each.
Possibly the greatest moment of her racing career, outside of her Triple Crown achievement, came at Flemington on Derby Day 2 November 2019. Jumping from gate 13, she cleaned up the field in the A$1 million Empire Rose Stakes for fillies and mares over 1600m. Her first Australian Group 1 scalp and her 10th career Group 1 title.
Remaining in Melbourne, Melody Belle was the talk of Flemington after her barnstorming second placing again from a wide gate (15) in the A$2,000,000 Group 1 Mackinnon Stakes. She was desperately unlucky not to defeat the star mare Magic Wand – again with Opie Bosson aboard.
Returning to Australia in the autumn after a break, she was soon on the radar with her third placing in the A$500,000 Group 1 Futurity Stakes over 1400m with Opie Bosson aboard. She then lined up in the A$4,500,000 All Star Mile in March 2020 and was a gallant third.
In April 2020 on a very heavy Sydney track she was fourth in the A1,500,000 Doncaster Mile before her Australian autumn campaign concluded with her gritty fifth place in the A$2,000,000 Queen Elizabeth Stakes also at Royal Randwick.
Following the A$500,000 Group 1 Winx Stakes on 22 August, in which she was unplaced (a rarity for this super consistent mare), Melody Belle returned to New Zealand.
A late nomination saw her take her place in the $200,000 Group 1 Windsor Park Plate over 1600m on 3 October 2020. There to defend the title she won for the previous two years, ridden by Troy Harris, she pulled off a fabulous comeback, beating stablemate Avantage by a nose.
It was a superb training feat by Jamie Richards – and Melody Belle became Te Akau’s fourth consecutive winner of the Group 1 Windsor Park Plate, with her three wins being preceded by the mighty Gingernuts in 2017.
Another late nomination this time for the $250,000 Group 1 Livamol Classic in October 2020 saw her return to Hawkes Bay in an attempt to make it seven appearances at Hastings, for seven wins, all at Group 1 level. She absolutely dealt to her classy opposition in achieving this rare feat – back to back Group 1 Livamol Classic titles, this time in the hands of Troy Harris. Te Akau has now won five Group 1 (previously known as Kelt, Spring and now) Livamol Classics.
In October 2020, Melody Belle was named 2019/20 Champion Sprinter Miler, Champion Middle Distance Horse and crowned Horse of the Year for the second successive year.
In January 2021, in amazing training feat, Melody Belle resumed fresh up over 1600m in the $200,000 Group 1 Thorndon Mile at Trentham. Ridden once again by Opie Bosson, she was sent out hot favourite – with her victory seeing her equal the Group 1 record (13) held also by the mighty mare Sunline.
Denied owning the record outright after a disappointing Group 1 Herbie Dyke Stakes at Te Rapa in February, she proved class is permanent and Champions prevail on Auckland Cup Day. In a bitter fight with right time Group 1 winning stablemate Avantage, these two grand mares fought out the finish with line honours clearly going the way of Melody Belle.
In winning her 14th Group 1 title, and in the hands of Troy Harris who is four tides for four wins on her, she became the highest ever Group 1 winning New Zealand trained horse, breaking the legendary Sunline’s long-standing record.
Melody Belle has raced 38 times, for 19 wins and ten other placings with stakes’ earnings of $4,224,049.