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Belle brings Group 1 joy

2 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

It was a case of firsts all around when Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) dug deep to earn Group 1 glory in the Tarzino Trophy at Hastings on Saturday.

The determined mare provided trainer Jamie Richards with his maiden taste of success in his own right at the highest level and similarly for jockey Shafiq Rusof.

“I couldn’t be happier, it won’t last forever but hopefully it carries on for a bit longer,” said Richards, who is Te Akau’s head trainer after sharing duties in recent seasons with Stephen Autridge. “It was a terrific win and a terrific ride. Shafiq has really stepped up and he’s riding very well.

Melody Belle winning the Group 1 Tarzino Trophy at Hastings

“I’ve got to say a big thank you to all the staff at home. I’m just the name in the book and I’m very proud of the team.”

“I’ve got to say a big thank you to all the staff at home. I’m just the name in the book and I’m very proud of the team.” – Jamie Richards.

Melody Belle was given an economical run close to the pace and one off the fence before she rounded off strongly in the run home to beat Hiflyer (NZ) (Tavistock {NZ}) and the winner’s stablemate Our Abbadean (NZ) (Lookin At Lucky {USA}). “We’ll have to sit down and decide what we do next,” Richards said.

A return to Hastings for the G1 Windsor Park Plate is now a distinct possibility. “She’s never been tried over a mile, but she’s a year older and it might well be worth giving it a crack.”

Pedigree Notes

Melody Belle was bred by Marie Leicester and sold by her under the Haunui Farm banner at Karaka in 2016 for NZ$57,500. She was purchased by Te Akau principal David Ellis on behalf of John Galvin’s Fortuna syndication company. Ellis also went to NZ$900,000 earlier this year to secure a half-sister by Not A Single Doubt (Redoute’s Choice) and has been named Exaltation.

Melody Belle was an NZ$57,500 purchase at Karaka

Melody Belle is out of Meleka Belle (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}), who is in foal to Tavistock (NZ) (Montjeu {IRE}) and will be returning to Not A Single Doubt this season, and a family the Leicesters have enjoyed considerable success with. It includes the G1 Golden Slipper winners Dance Hero (Danzero) and Belle Du Jour (Dehere {USA}).