Tangerine Team Among Hall of Fame Inductees

Date: 8 May 2023

Tangerine Team Among Hall of Fame Inductees


Te Akau stars Melody Belle (Commands) and Opie Bosson were honoured and inducted into the New Zealand Racing Hall of Fame at the 2023 Inductee Dinner on Sunday night at SkyCity Hamilton.


Te Akau principal David Ellis CNZM has bought a lot of champion racehorses over the years, but Melody Belle is hard to go past on many levels.

From the incredible Belle family, bred by Marie Leicester, prepared and offered for sale by Haunui Farm, Ellis bought Melody Belle for $57,500 at the 2016 New Zealand Bloodstock Premier Yearling Sale.

Owned by Fortuna Melody Belle Syndicate (Mgr: John Galvin), she won on debut in October of her two-year-old season at Ruakaka, became the first of seven consecutive $1m Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m) winners purchased by Ellis, including Tokyo Tycoon (Satono Aladdin) this year, and capped her juvenile season winning the Manawatu Sires' Produce Stakes (Gr. 1, 1400m), and Sires' Produce Stakes (Gr. 2, 1400m) at Eagle Farm, Brisbane, en route to becoming Champion Two-Year-Old.

At three, she became the first Karaka Million 2YO winner since its inception 10 earlier to win at the Karaka Million meeting a year on when successful in the Mongolian Khan Trophy (Gr. 3, 1200m).

Early in her four-year-old season she won the Tarzino Trophy (Gr. 1, 1400 metres) at Hastings, commencing a record that must surely stand forever, whereby remaining unbeaten in seven Group One races from as many starts on the course.



During 2019, she became the historical and since unmatched Triple Crown winner at Hastings, during a calendar year that contained seven Group One wins, including the Empire Rose (Gr. 1, 1600m) at Flemington, matching the great Winx (Street Cry) for record number of Group One wins in a year.

She equalled the domestic Group One record (13) of mighty mare Sunline (Desert Sun) when winning the Thorndon Mile (Gr. 1, 1600m) in 2021, and set a new mark (14) when winning the Bonecrusher NZ Stakes (Gr. 1, 2000m). 

Dual NZ Horse of the Year in 2018/19, and 2019/20, she retired the winner of 14 Group One races (19 from 41 in total) and $4.3 million prize money, before selling as a broodmare for $2.6m.



Group One Stakes wins: 2021 Bonecrusher NZ Stakes (Gr.1); 2021 Thorndon Mile (Gr.1); 2020 Livamol Classic (Gr.1); 2020 Windsor Park Plate (Gr.1); 2019 Empire Rose Stakes (Gr.1); 2019 Livamol Classic (Gr.1); 2019 Windsor Park Plate (Gr.1); 2019 Tarzino Trophy (Gr.1); 2019 Bonecrusher New Zealand Stakes (Gr.1); 2019 Haunui Farm (Gr.1); 2019 BCD Group Sprint (Gr.1); 2018 Windsor Park Plate (Gr.1); 2018 Tarzino Trophy (Gr.1); 2017 Manawatu Sires Produce Stakes (Gr.1).




The affable Opie Bosson (42), national record-holder with 91 Group Ones, is a household name in the race community and now honoured as one of the greats.


There are few that soak up big race pressures better than Bosson, as his elite wins are testament to, and the combination with David Ellis, Mark Walker, and Jamie Richards has been remarkable.

The star prodigy, who joined Te Akau as a 13-year-old and now contracted stable rider, recently notched his 91st Group One victory aboard Champion Three-Year-Old Imperatriz (4 m I Am Invincible - Berimbau, by Shamardal) in the $1m William Reid Stakes (Gr. 1, 1200m) at Moonee Valley, Melbourne - and the five time Group One winner appears likely Horse of the Year.



Bosson combined with aforementioned Melody Belle to win the 2017 Karaka Million 2YO, paying $32.40, was aboard to win the Sires' Produce Stakes, Empire Rose Stakes, an unlucky second in the Mackinnon Stakes, in Australia, and scored six Group Ones on the great mare.

He also rode another Ellis yearling purchase, the steamrolling mare Avantage (Fastnet Rock), to victory in the 2018 Karaka Million 2YO (Restricted Listed, 1200m), Birthday Card Stakes (Gr. 3, 1200m) at Rosehill, and five of her nine Group One wins.

The five-time Champion Jockey rode his 1000th winner in 2010, surpassed Hall of Fame legend Lance O'Sullivan (62 Group One wins) in 2019, and now has over 2000 wins (1959 NZ, 44 Australia, 31 Singapore, five Hong Kong) and upwards of $60 million in stakes.

A world-class rider in any language, Bosson is technically proficient, cool under pressure, in sync on a horse, and his incredible ability to win big races (including four consecutive Karaka Million 2YO) is second to none.



As a 17-year-old, Bosson whet his appetite for winning Group One races aboard Jezabeel (Zabeel) on 1 January 1998 in the Auckland Cup (3200m) at Ellerslie. Jezabeel subsequently won the 1998 Melbourne Cup (Gr. 1, 3200m). 

Bosson rode his first Group One winner for Te Akau aboard Distinctly Secret (Distinctly North) in the 2003 Kelt Capital Stakes (2040m), quickly followed by King's Chapel (King of Kings) in the 2000 Guineas (1600m). There were multiple Group One successes for the stable aboard Darci Brahma (Danehill), Princess Coup (Encosta De Lago), and King's Rose (Redoute's Choice), before a run starting with Hall of Fame (Savabeel) and Gingernuts (Iffraaj) early in 2017 that has stretched to 35 Group One wins for Te Akau in six seasons - a phenomenal achievement. 

Regarding his rise in racing, Bosson said previously: “I started with Te Akau when I was 13 and it's just grown, and grown, into a pretty big business now. When we first started out, we were trying our best to get owners and horses, but now it's become one of the biggest racing operations in New Zealand. It's very professional and David (Ellis) buys some beautiful horses which makes things easier for me.  



“They have always had a good eye of a horse. Even in the early days, the cheaper horses Dave was buying were still very nice horses. King's Chapel cost $35,000 and became Horse of the Year, and Integrate was another one. All of them, Dave, Mark (Walker), and Jamie (Richards), have all got a great eye for a horse. And now they're able to buy a better quality breed, as well.

“Dave has been really good for me and he's always been someone I can talk to. He knows me as a person and it's good that I can go and talk to him about life in general as well as racing, which helps, and it's been good to continue our relationship since I've returned as stable rider.

“Mark Walker was a big help in the early days of my apprenticeship. He said: “Just go out there and enjoy yourself. You know what you're doing, just relax and enjoy it”. So I started doing that and things started going right. Instead of trying to make things happen, and getting panicky, or nervous, I just let things happen and stayed relaxed. I've stuck by that advice and I've enjoyed what I've achieved so far.”




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