Richards stakes his claim

2 min read

Jamie Richards claimed his first stakes race in his own right when he produced Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) for a first-up victory in Saturday’s G2 Lisa Chittick Foxbridge Plate at Te Rapa. Previously in partnership with Stephen Autridge, he is now in sole charge of the powerful Te Akau racing operation.

“It’s a great start, but I was a little bit worried during the week,” he said. “Her work on Tuesday morning wasn’t that flash, but she is very good. She didn’t have a great 3-year-old season, but this could be her year now.”

Melody Belle won the G1 Manawatu Sires’ Produce S., and the Listed Karaka Million as a juvenile before she went to Queensland where she added the G2 Sires’ Produce S., at Eagle Farm to her record.

On Saturday, she sat close to the pace under Shafiq Rusof and was willing in the straight to get the better of the favourite Julius (NZ) (Swiss Ace). “It was a good ride by Shafiq,” Richards said. “That will take a bit out of her, it was a hard run. At this stage, she’ll go to the Tarzino Trophy next.”

Pedigree Notes

Bred by Marie Leicester, Melody Belle was purchased at Karaka by Te Akau principal David Ellis on behalf of John Galvin’s Fortuna NZ syndication company for $57,500 out of Haunui Farm’s 2016 draft. She is out of Meleka Belle (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}), whose filly by Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) was also secured by Ellis earlier this year for $900,000.