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Belle family keeps on giving

3 min read

By Paul Vettise

The bells have been ringing for Marie Leicester and her family for decades and another Group 1 chime could be sounding for them at Hawke’s Bay on Saturday. Their hopes centre on the well-related mare and pre-post Tarzino Trophy favourite Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands).

A last-start winner of the G2 Foxbridge Plate, she boasts a pedigree full of quality performers stemming from Belle Star (NZ) (Lucullus (GER}), who started the line when she was sent to Foxbridge (GB) (Foxlaw {GB}), then standing at Seton Otway’s Trelawney Stud, by Leicester’s parents James and Annie Sarten, in the late 1930s. The resulting foal was Belle Fox.

“I have the original receipt of the 37 pounds Dad paid to Mr Otway for that first service to Foxbridge framed and hanging in my hallway,” she said. “Belle Rosa became known as Mum’s line while the Belle Time line was Dad’s family. They were both from Belle Fox.

“I have the original receipt of the 37 pounds Dad paid to Mr Otway for that first service to Foxbridge framed and hanging in my hallway.” – Marie Leicester

“It’s been a fabulous family and the winners keep going on and on and on. It’s just been prolific – Honey Belle and Star Belle were very good and Tri Belle was the Filly of the Year. Belle Time’s sons and daughter alone won 70 races.”

The family has also produced the G1 Golden Slipper winners Dance Hero (Danzero) and Belle Du Jour (Dehere {USA}).

Melody Belle

Belle line continuing

Leicester is currently breeding from half a dozen mares, who are based at Haunui Farm, that trace back to Belle Star, with Melody Belle’s mother Meleka Belle (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) to make another trip to Australia.

“She’s due to foal to Tavistock and will be going back to Not A Single Doubt,” she said. The first result of that mating realised $900,000 at Karaka earlier this year when Te Akau principal David Ellis, who paid $57,500 for Melody Belle, secured the Haunui Farm-offered filly.

A daughter of Tavistock (NZ) (Montjeu {IRE}) and Meleka Belle is likely to go to auction at Karaka in 2019.

And now Leicester is hoping Melody Belle can further add to a remarkable family honours board on Saturday. “Wouldn’t that be wonderful. I would love to see her go over the $1 million in earnings, not that I will get any of it!” she said.

“Wouldn’t that be wonderful. I would love to see her go over the $1 million in earnings, not that I will get any of it!” – Marie Leicester.

“I’m still as interested in the family as if I was racing them myself. They are my babies and I would also like to thank the Chitty family at Haunui for all their help and friendship over the years, they’ve been wonderful.”

Melody Belle’s trainer Jamie Richards said the 4-year-old had progressed well since her first-up win in the Foxbridge Plate. “She had a hard run, but she’s come on nicely since and I’ve been pleased with her work. We’ll get Saturday out of the way before we make any more plans.”