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Bonny Belle hands trainer perfect pick me up

3 min read

Written by Paul Vettise

Jamie Richards’ spirits were lifted to new heights by Melody Belle (NZ) (Commands) when the dynamic mare produced another quality performance at Hastings on Saturday to remain unbeaten for the season.

The Te Akau head trainer’s recent woes were committed to a distant memory as his star 4-year-old crushed her weight-for-age rivals in the G1 Windsor Park Plate. Richards has not long been out of hospital following a stomach complaint, but he was back in top form for the Hawke’s Bay meeting and paid tribute for his staff’s behind the scenes work in his absence.

“They’ve all done a great job, it’s a great tonic after a rough week.” – Jamie Richards.

“They’ve all done a great job, it’s a great tonic after a rough week,” he said. “It’s a terrific result, she was very impressive again. Shafiq (Rusof) gave her a lovely ride and she had trained on beautifully – just outstanding.”

Melody Belle was quickly away to take a trailing position behind the leader and Rusof angled her into the clear at the top of the straight. When he asked her to let down, the response was immediate and she bolted clear for the seventh win of her 16-start career.

Bred by Marie Leicester, Melody Belle was snapped up by Te Akau boss David Ellis for $57,500 out of Haunui Farm’s 2016 draft at Karaka for John Galvin’s Fortuna syndication company.

“I’m just lucky to be in this position,” Richards said. “Dave and Karen buy the horses and John slots in there with Fortuna, he’s a very important part of our business.”

Melody Belle as a yearling

A mile no problem

The Group 1 winner of the Manawatu Sires’ Produce S., as a 2-year-old, Melody Belle successfully resumed this season in the G2 Foxbridge Plate and followed up with success in the Windsor Park, boldly allaying any concerns she may struggle to run out a strong 1600 metres.

Melody Belle will now head for her spring break and return for summer Group 1 sprinting targets.

“We’ll look after her now and give her a spell and then get her ready for the Railway and the Telegraph,” Richards said.

“She can be a handful at times and she knows she’s pretty good.” – Jamie Richards.

“She can be a handful at times and she knows she’s pretty good. She’s strengthened up from three to four and we might look at Sydney or Brisbane again next year.”

Melody Belle has already made her mark across the Tasman and two season back she won the G2 Sires’ Produce S., at Eagle Farm before she was out of the money in the G1 JJ Atkins S.

No horse has ever won all three legs of the Triple Crown series at Hastings, but the Te Akau stable has a live chance scooping the pool and adding the G1 Livamol Classic to its roll of honour in a fortnight’s time.

Melody Belle

Livamol focus on stablemate

Melody Belle’s barn mate Our Abbadean (NZ) (Looking at Lucky {USA}) will find the step up to a middle distance much more to her liking. She finished strongly from the tail of the field to finish fifth in the Windsor Park.

“She’s a very good mare and 2000 metres will be ideal for her in the Livamol,” Richards said.

Our Abbadean will face stern opposition though with Saturday’s minor placegetters Savvy Coup (Savabeel) and Wyndspelle (NZ) (Darci Brahma {NZ}) also better-suited to more ground.