Multiple Group 1 winning Kiwi mare Melody Belle is tuning up nicely for her return to Sydney racing in the 2020 Spring Carnival.

Champion Kiwi mare Melody Belle, above, is being set for the 2020 Winx Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

Champion Kiwi mare Melody Belle, above, is being set for the 2020 Winx Stakes at Randwick. Photo by Steve Hart.

The New Zealand based Te Akau Racing decided to leave Melody Belle in Sydney following a winless 2020 Australian Autumn Carnival and trainer Jamie Richards has reported that the ten times Group 1 winner has returned to the training track in great shape.

“David Ellis (Te Akau principal) made the decision after the (Sydney Autumn) carnival to leave the horses there and Ashley Handley, who works for us, took a bit of a break and she stayed over there and welcomed the horses back in after they’d spent six weeks in the paddock,” Richards told the NZ Racing Desk.

“We’re really glad that we did that because they’re coming up well.”

“She’s in good shape, she’s coming along well.”

Richards, who is stuck in New Zealand because of the border closures due to the coronavirus pandemic, plans to give Melody Belle a barrier trial at Randwick on July 28 before opening her 2020 Sydney Spring Carnival account in the Group 2 $200,000 Missile Stakes (1200m) at Rosehill on August 8.

Melody Belle will then have one run under her belt before lining up in the Group 1 $500,000 Winx Stakes (1400m) at Randwick a fortnight later.

“She will trial at Randwick on the 28th and then she’ll run in the Missile first and then she’ll run in the Winx a couple of weeks later,” Richards said..

“She’s a mare that as she’s got older she’s needed a run so we’ve been very mindful of that.

“We’re pretty keen to have her ready to rock and roll early because I think quite a few of the nicer middle-distance horses will be resuming in the Winx Stakes and might be a little bit vulnerable fitness-wise, that’s what we’re hoping anyway.

“By having her fit and ready to go early and running in the Missile, hopefully she’s really ready to crank up in the Winx Stakes.”

Top Sydney jockey Tommy Berry gave a glowing report about Melody Belle after the Kiwi mare completed at gallop at Randwick on Saturday.

“She is a very classy horse so she was always going to give me a good feel and she has wet track form so never skipped a beat,” Berry told Racenet.

“She is a little pocket rocket.

“I have sat on her in trackwork once before and everything about her is impressive.

“At the moment she still has that winter coat but she feels a lot better than she looks.

“These New Zealand horses probably take a bit longer to come to hand.”

Melody Belle claimed her tenth Group 1 trophy with a win in the $1m Empire Rose Stakes (1600m) at Flemington on the first day of the 2019 four day Melbourne Cup Carnival while her best effort during the 2020 Autumn Carnival was a third in the Group 1 $500,000 PFD Food Services Futurity Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield.

Pre-post betting for the Winx Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au has Melody Belle the second pick at $8 behind the Chris Waller trained Funstar at $6.50.

All-in betting for the Winx Stakes at Ladbrokes.com.au: $6.50 Funstar, $8 Melody Belle, $8.50 Master Of Wine, $10 Alligator Blood, Dreamforce, $11 Verry Elleegant, $12 Brandenburg, Fierce Impact, $15 Flit, Probabeel, The Bostonian, $17 Catalyst, Rubisaki, $19 Con Te Partiro, $21 Fasika, Kinane, Kolding, Quackerjack, $26 or better the rest.




About The Author

Mark Mazzaglia

Mark is a passionate journalist with a life-time involvement in the racing industry. He spent many years as an analyst and form expert at the Courier Mail and also has hands-on experience working with some of Queensland’s top trainers.