Why Jamie Richards Isn't Nervous

Date: 13 Feb 2021

Why Jamie Richards Isn't Nervous


New Zealand Herald's Michael Guerin writes:


Jamie Richards is too busy to get caught up in the emotion of what Melody Belle is expected to achieve at Te Rapa on Saturday.

The champion trainer realises if his great mare wins the Herbie Dyke and becomes New Zealand's most successful Group 1 thoroughbred it is special in our racing history and he will be the man who helped make it happen.

But in the lead-up to what could be a magical event, Richards has the benefit of not having time to be too nervous.

"We have a pretty busy day, not just as Te Rapa but in Australia, too," says Richards.

"So while I am hoping she can do it, we have a lot of other horses, with other owners, who also need our attention.

"So our team will go to work and hopefully we can enjoy her race and maybe be part of something special."

Melody Belle is red hot to record her 14th Group 1 win, with the likelihood of a good pace suggesting the best horse should win and she is the best horse.

But she was also the best horse in the Thorndon Mile at Trentham two weeks ago and made hard work of winning her 13th Group 1 even after her key rivals suffered plenty of misfortune.

Richards says he would have liked to have seen Melody Belle beat Sinarahma easier at Trentham but he liked what he saw the last 50m.

"We have to take into account she was first-up for quite a while over 1600m at Group 1 level and while she was flat out at the 200m she was actually getting away from them at the line.

"That last 50m gives me confidence she is ready for 2000m this week."

The win in the Thorndon was similar to her victory over Avantage and Callsign Mav in the 1600m Group 1 Windsor Park Plate in October, only for her to explode over 2040m a few weeks later, the same programme she faces on Saturday.

There is enough talent in the field to suggest if Melody Belle suffers any bad luck she could leave Te Rapa without the record but multi takes can include her with confidence.

In not so dominant a position is one of Richards' other superstar mares, Avantage, in the $200,000 BCD Sprint, with her wide draw meaning she will need to work to catch Callsign Mav before holding off Levante.

"She is really well but the draw doesn't help. We will have to go forward at least a bit and be positive but it won't be a case of her easily getting to a good spot. So it is going to be a pretty awesome race."

Amarelinha steps up to 2000m in the Ellies Classic and Richards wants her to take advantage of barrier one.

"I think she will be just in behind the speed and being on the rail will help at her first try at 2000m.

"But she is well and I am not worried about the 2000m."

Perfect Scenario flies the Team Tangerine flag in the Waikato Guineas and is also expected to handle the step up to 2000m but he meets one of the more progressive three-year-olds in the country in Montre Moi, his task made easier by the scratching of Force Of Will after returning some poor bloodwork.

Regardless of the silverware or records Richards leaves Te Rapa with, his day will be far from finished as he has Brando and Kahma Lass making their Australian debuts in Melbourne and Sydney.

Brando races in the Hayes Stakes that fellow Kiwi three-year-old Catalyst raced in last season and while he has drawn wide Richards thinks Flemington will suit.

"He is well and with the blinkers on over 1400m I'd be surprised if he didn't finish top four at least."

Kahma Lass hasn't raced since winning the 1000 Guineas at Riccarton in November and takes on some flying Aussie fillies in the Light Fingers at Randwick.

"She has been working really well and we expect good things from her but we also realise how tough a race she is in."


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