Melody Belle Rings in the Record

Date: 15 Mar 2021

Melody Belle Rings in the Record


Michael Guerin of the New Zealand Herald reports:


The horse with nothing left to prove may not be finished yet.

Melody Belle could be given to chance to extend her newly-minted record for Group 1 wins by a New Zealand racehorse.

The wonderful mare took sole ownership of that record with a crushing performance in the $200,000 Bonecrusher Stakes at Ellerslie, swooping from near-last for Group 1 win No 14.

That takes her one clear of Sunline on the list of Group 1 winners trained here but trainer Jamie Richards, who had another stellar day winning another Group 1 with Sword Of State, would like to take Melody Belle back to Australia.

"Everybody knows this is her last campaign and I'd like to give her another crack at Australia and the owners are keen on that," said Richards. "We have the option of Sydney but also Brisbane where a race like the Doomben Cup could be perfect.

"She is a marvel that she has raced at this level for this long and we are all very proud of her. It is going to be tough saying goodbye to her at some stage soon but hopefully she can show her best in Australia again before that happens."

Melody Belle swept past stablemate Avantage to win easily in the hands of Troy Harris, who battled with his weight to ride the mare.

"But it is worth it. It is special to be part of this," said Harris. "I ride her most fast work mornings in trackwork and I think she deserves this moment."

The record is not only testament to Melody Belle's ability but her soundness and will to win, especially bouncing back from a below-par performance at Te Rapa last start.

Today, she ran past five other Group 1 winners in the straight to earn the record, a fitting way to stand atop of racing's mountain.

When she does finish racing, Melody Belle will almost certainly be sold at public auction because she is owned by a syndicate which means breeding from her under her existing ownership status would be too tricky.

"We have three options including New Zealand Bloodstock's online platform, the Chairmans Sales in Sydney and the Gold Coast sale and we will make an announcement about that soon," said syndicate manager John Galvin.

Although Melody Belle is nearing the end of her time with trainer Richards, Sword Of State is just getting started and they have some decisions to make with him, too.

He bolted away with the Sistema Stakes, defeating Karaka Million winner On The Bubbles for the second straight start and that might be good enough to already earn him Two-Year-Old of the Year honours.

He could cement those in the Sires' Produce at Awapuni in April 3, especially as On The Bubbles is unlikely to head there as the spelling paddock beckons.

But Sword Of State is also now qualified for the Golden Slipper in Sydney next Saturday and while that is extremely unlikely he could still head to Australia where a Group 1 win would seal a stallion career for him.

Elsewhere, the Melbourne rain washed away Probabeel's chances in the A$5 million All-Star Mile.

The Kiwi mare never handled the track at The Valley after heavy rain just hours before the race turned it from a good3 to a slow7, which Probabeel has never handled.


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